For Immediate Release: Fire Chief Jenifer Collins-Brown reports that last night, October 5, 2018, while the Topsfield Fair was in full swing, a detail officer notified the command post that he was receiving a report of a fire in the Haunted House at the bottom of the Midway. Lt Tom Ash was the Officer in Charge (OIC) of the shift and immediately notified the two firefighters on duty for the midway detail as the crew at the main gate donned their turnout gear to respond. Firefighters Boyle and Bonaiuto arrived quickly and notified the OIC and incoming units that the ride was filling with smoke and flames were visible under one of the cars on the track. Engine 3 was on detail manned by Lt Brown with Firefighters Horne, McGlauflin, and Courtemanche, and entered the fair by way of the midway gate near the bottom of the midway. A carnival worker attempted to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher to no avail, Engine 3’s crew arrived shortly afterwards and made entry into the ride. The crew investigated and with the help of a thermal imaging camera, found the ride car with an electrical fire in the transformer under the fiberglass seat, now extending to the rest of the seat. Two of the members rocked the car up, exposing the undercarriage and giving clear access to the burning area, then used a pressurized water extinguisher to control the fire. The car was then dragged out to the front of the ride as it was still affixed the conductive rail that was de-energized for firefighter’s safety. With the help of Fiesta Shows staff, the car was systematically dismantled and the fire was confirmed to be extinguished. The OIC contacted the dispatcher at the ECRECC to tone out the rest of the department, bringing off-duty members in to the station, Firefighters Fontaine, Moore, and Hallinan responded in Engine 2 to cover the fair and provide backup for Engine 3’s crew if needed. The origin of the fire was a transformer that drives the car along the track as it runs its course through the ride, cause was determined to be an electrical malfunction limited to the single car. The ride was turned back over to the owners who completed overnight repairs and removed the affected car so the ride can be safe to operate in the morning. No injuries were reported and Engine 3’s crew returned promptly to the Main Gate of the Fair to resume the detail for the rest of the night.
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