Labor Day was anything but a holiday for local fire departments who responded to a heavily engulfed house fire on Thompson Street. Onlookers who could see flames dialed 911.
The Halifax Fire Department responded at 1:05 p.m. Within two minutes, the fire was called to a second alarm, Halifax Chief Jason Viveiros told The Express. Firefighters encountered heavy fire upon arriving at 415 Thompson Street and were there well into the evening as investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s office arrived to determine the cause. The fire went to three alarms plus one additional engine and two ambulances for assistance but not a full fourth alarm, he said.
Homeowner John Peck and his adult son Joe were at the house after being alerted to the fire. Family and friends stopped to console and offer support to the visibly upset and shaken family. It was later confirmed that a pet did perish in the fire.
The dwelling, which is located on a retreat lot, had approximately 400 feet of driveway forcing crews to lay two four- inch hose lines over 500 feet each to reach the engines and pump water onto the flames.
The fire got a head start, said Viveiros. Flames had engulfed the entire back side of the original home. Firefighters worked tirelessly and were able to save the newer part of the second story home, which Viveiros said was inhabitable. Early estimated damages are at least $600,000. The family is staying with local relatives.
Stored live ammunition, which was kept in the home, exploded due to the intense heat, sending shell casings toward firefighters and onlookers. Two propane tanks self-vented because they were scorched in the flames, adding fuel to the fire, but that was early on and quickly controlled, he said.
Tropical storm Hermine’s wind gusts up to 30 mph added more than a few challenges for fire crews and bands of rain arrived later in the day.
No one was at the house when flames broke out. There were no civilian injuries, however three firefighters were treated for heat and smoke related injuries, as well as one back injury. They were transported by EMS, treated and released at a local hospital.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s office.
Chief Viveiros acknowledged manpower and resources from the towns of Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, Pembroke, Hanson, Whitman, Middleboro and Plympton and the Department of Fire Services State Rehab Unit.