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Mass. FFs rescue woman, 3 children from 3rd floor at apartment blaze

Brockton Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Galligan praised firefighters for following the ladder rescue training they had just completed two weeks ago


Marc Larocque
The Enterprise, Brockton, Mass.

BROCKTON, Mass. — A woman and three children were trapped inside their Brockton apartment, waiting for help by a third story window, as a raging basement fire generated heavy smoke that filled up the stairway.

Brockton firefighters came rushing in with ladders to rescue the family, including a woman and three children, after a home security system alerted the fire department about the basement fire at 574 Warren Ave. at 9:15 a.m., according to Brockton Fire Deputy Chief Kevin Galligan.

While firefighters from Squad A attacked the fire in the basement, others from Ladder 2 used a 28-foot ground ladder to reach the third floor window of the wood-frame apartment building, ferrying two young children to the ground, Galligan said. They used a hydraulic aerial ladder to reach an older child and a woman and get them to safety, the deputy chief said. The ladder rescues come just two weeks after the department went through ground ladder rescue training, Galligan said.

“The occupants were trapped on the third floor. They couldn’t go down the stairs. They were full of smoke,” Galligan said. “The guys did an excellent job. They did exactly as they’re trained and it resulted in four successful rescues. Here we are two weeks later and it works.”

The fire was considered a two-alarm blaze, but the Brockton firefighters were able to contain it to the basement, swiftly knocking the “significant fire” out, Galligan said.

“It didn’t extend to the upper floors,” Galligan said.

The children and woman trapped on the third floor were evaluated by EMS at the scene, but were not transported to the hospital. One firefighter suffered a minor hand injury involving an axe, Galligan said, and was transported to the hospital.

A total of six occupants in the building were displaced as a result of the fire, leading firefighters to turn off the utilities, as a result of the fire, smoke and water damage. The American Red Cross responded to help the displaced residents get a place to stay, Galligan said.

It’s not immediately clear exactly how the fire was started, Galligan said. But it does not appear suspicious, he said.

“It’s under investigation,” said Galligan, who was the incident commander at the scene. “Right now, it appears accidental in nature.”


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