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Five calls in 48 hours - GFD - 08/22/2009


4 calls in 24 hours all in a day's work

A powerful line of

GOSHEN - A powerful line of storms which brought down trees and power lines contributed to one of four calls received by the Goshen Fire Department between 8 p.m. Thursday and 7 p.m. Friday of this week.

Thursday night, crews from Goshen Fire, Goshen Police and Highland Ambulance were called to a medical emergency on South Chesterfield Road.  One individual was transported to Cooley Dickenson hospital by ambulance personnel.

Friday morning, Northampton dispatch received a call from a contractor working on a house on East Street who reported that alarms were sounding at the house next door.  Goshen Fire personnel responded and confirmed that every alarm at the home was going off.   Problem was, the only 'homeowner' at the residence had four legs and wasn't too fond of strangers peeking inside windows and doors.  With the help of the Massachusetts State Police, firefighters were able to distract the homebound dog on one end of the house long enough to allow Chief Sue Labrie to gain access through a back window.  Once inside, she was able to locate and disable the one detector that had caused the false alarm.  During this time, the family dog was coaxed into a rear sunroom.  The detector was disconnected, the system was reset and a note was left for the homeowner that provided details on what had happened.

Shortly after 6 p.m. a line of thunderstorms that had triggered tornado watches in Connecticut and Massachusetts rolled through the region.  Forecasters had been predicting these storms throughout the day.  At the height of the storm, a lightning strike near a home on Sears road triggered a box alarm.  The homeowner at 130 Sears Road said they saw the lightning strike and decided to diall 911 when they smelled smoke in their house.  Standard protocol for the Goshen Fire Department sends a mutual aid call to both the Williamsburg and Chesterfield Fire Departments.  First arriving Goshen units alerted others that a tree had fallen across Sears Road down by Route 9 effectively shutting down the roadway.  As a result, all remaining fire apparatus had to drive north on Route 112 into Ashfield to access the other end of Sears Road.  At some point during their response, the Goshen transmission tower, which is located behind the firehouse, was also struck by lightning.  The lightning strike disabled not only the Hampshire County Emergency dispatch redio but also the cellular equipment owned by AT&T.  As a result, radio dispatches were relayed by the Williamsburg Fire Department personnel that were stationed at the intersection of Route 112 and Sears Road in Ashfield.  In short, they were higher in elevation than Goshen units at the scene and were able to re-transmit critical information to the dispatch center located in the State Police barracks in Northampton.

Shortly after Goshen units arrived back in the station, another call was received from a resident on Lower Highland Lake that reported seeing flames on the other side of the water near Dresser's beach.  Goshen Fire Chief Sue Labrie kept units in quarters while she responded to the area adjacent to the Dresser's on the western shore of the lake.  Fire / Police officer Frank Burnett, who had been returning home from the earlier call, drove down Aberdeen Road on the eastern shore of the lake.  At the same time, Williamsburg Fire Chief Don Lawton who was also returning home, drove down West Shore Drive. 

Almost half of the department's 18 volunteers responded to at least one incident in the string of calls, Chief Sue Labrie said.

Bob, Kim, Sue, Jonathan, Bill, Phil, Frank, Rick, Steve

Earlier in the week, firefighters responded to a vehicle fire on East Street that... 

Saturday night, another