For Immediate Release: Chief Jenifer Collins-Brown reports that that Thursday afternoon at about 3:00 PM, the Topsfield Fire Department received a call on the business line from staff at Masconomet Health Care at 123 High Street reporting an order of electrical burning in the building. Engine 3 with the duty crew, Firefighters Boyle and Hallinan immediately responded requesting a tone for more manpower to cover the station. Shorty into the investigation of the source of the odor, Firefighter Boyle requested additional apparatus and manpower to assist with determining the cause of the odor and smoke which was now filling an office and hallway on the first floor. Masconomet has 123 patient beds within the facility as well as staff and visitors. If the facility had to be evacuated, many more crews would have been needed in addition to crews engaged in suppression of a fire, as well as ambulances to transport patients. Upon further investigation with Truck 1’s crew and Engine 2’s crew standing by outside, the source was determined to be a burned out exhaust motor on the roof that was part of the HVAC system. The unit was shut down and the affected area was ventilated of smoke with positive pressure ventilation. Initially while attempting to locate the source of the smoke, a working fire assignment was struck, calling in mutual aid for station coverage due to the hundreds of occupants inside the nursing home with limited mobility. The call for covering crews was quickly reversed once firefighters on scene determined the extent of the fire had been confined to the rooftop unit and the risk to the occupants was now relatively low. After the unit was shut down and an HBAC technician called to fix the issue, fire crews and the ambulance sent by Northeast Regional Ambulance to stand by for the fire were released. Fire codes and nursing home staff’s familiarity with emergency procedures are maintained by completion of quarterly fire drills and fire safety inspections done jointly with maintenance staff and firefighters. Through scheduling, each shift is tested 4 times a year and all aspects of the fire and safety codes are inspected for compliance. Damages were estimated to be about $1500, there were no reported injuries, and none of the patients in the facility had to be evacuated.
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