Photo by Ryan Mooney
It's been a busy Thursday afternoon for Beverly firefighters.
Just as units began clearing the scene of a minor house fire on Dodge Street this afternoon, the department received a call for what turned into a three-alarm blaze less than a mile away at Beverly Garden Suites, which required assistance from at least six neighboring communities, according to Beverly fire Captain Jeff Sirois.
Sirois said that no injuries, to firefighters or civilians, were reported as a result of either blaze.
Everyone had been safely evacuated from the Beverly Garden Suites motel on Lakeview Avenue by the time three trucks from Beverly responded to the 23-unit property around 2 p.m., after spending about an hour snuffing out the small fire in the two-family residence on Dodge Street.
Police had reported smoke showing in one of the units, and fire crews arrived to find flames inside a wall beginning to climb up to the second floor.
The blaze is under investigation, but Sirois says it looks like an accidental fire that originated in one of the rooms. The fire on Dodge Street was accidental, caused by a chimney problem. The house will not be condemned.
Fire units responded to the motel from Danvers, Salem, Peabody, Manchester, Swampscott, and Hamilton-Wenham, according to Sirois.
"It was a wall in between four units, so we had basically four areas where the fire could travel," Sirois said as he stood on scene, while the help from neighboring towns began to clear out. "A lot of man-power was needed to get into all areas."
The biggest concern for firefighters, according to Sirois, was making sure the flames did not spread to the attic as the blaze crawled up the walls and into the ceilings of both floors in the two-story building.
"It's a common attic, so you can go in on [one] side and look all the way to the other side," Sirois explained. Firefighters prevented it from spreading the length of the attic by pulling down pieces of ceiling on the second floor and attacking the blaze from there, "fighting the fire from the outside in," as Sirois explained, to keep it from traveling.
"The guys did a great job," Sirois said. "In a fire like this a lot of times you lose the roof."
Sirois said the event of two fires so close in time and proximity is rare. He attributed timing, with a little bit of luck backing his skilled crew, to the preservation of both buildings.
If the motel fire had begun while units were still tied up with the house fire on Dodge Street, Beverly Garden Suites might be needing a new lid right about now.
"We'd probably still be here with the roof burned off the place," Sirois said.