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4 injured in Newton blaze

Posted by Andrew Ryan, Globe Metro Desk  February 12, 2009 10:30 AM

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(George Rizer/Globe Staff)

By David Abel, George Rizer, and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff

NEWTON -- A mother and her grown son were injured this morning in a three-alarm blaze in a home where a firefighter crashed through the floor and had to be carried out on a stretcher.


(George Rizer/Globe Staff)

It appeared that the most severe injuries were suffered by the son, Donovan Murphy, 21, who was covered in black soot and screaming in pain from burns on his arms and head, said neighbor Greg Hickey.

"I heard people screaming, and I saw the family outside on the back porch," Hickey said in an interview outside the charred home at 104 Los Angeles St.

Firefighter Richard Busa suffered a separated shoulder and a leg injury when he fell through the floor and dropped from the third story to the second.

"When he fell, he became our number one priority. We dropped everything else," said Deputy Chief Mike Castro of the Newton Fire Department. "It was just a matter of minutes before we were able to take him out."

Another firefighter, Dale Mullings, was also taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for a back strain, Castro said.

Neighbors identified the mother as Mary Murphy, 48. She suffered smoke inhalation and was in "100 percent shock. Just complete shock," Hickey said. Both Murphy and her son are expected to survive.

The three-alarm blaze erupted at 6:05 a.m. in the salmon-colored building on the corner of Allison Street. The fire left nine people homeless, including Murphy's two other sons, Colin, 19, and Harrison, 12, both of whom escaped unharmed, according to neighbor Pam Sheffield.

It was too early to tell what caused the fire, Castro said. It was originally reported as an electrical fire and caused and estimated $800,000 in damage, Castro said.

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40 comments so far...
  1. I knew so many people who lived in that very house! I grew up on that street and my moms house is about 100ft away. She was talking to the neighbors and they said it took the fire dept 25 minutes to get there.

    Posted by Mario Passi February 12, 09 09:24 AM
  1. I thought this fire was on Allison St...just off of California St.?

    Posted by D February 12, 09 09:30 AM
  1. My prayers go out to the injured firefighter and his family.
    I used to live on Pond St.
    Newton FD, EMS and PD, were always squared away.
    Get well soon brother.

    Dave Rourke
    Harvard Univestity PD Sgt. (retired)

    Dave Rourke
    Keller Willaims Realty
    Pawelys Island South Carolina
    843 240 4455

    Posted by DAVE ROURKE February 12, 09 09:44 AM
  1. do you know if it was Mary and the boys???

    Posted by lucy February 12, 09 09:46 AM
  1. I am not sure of who was living there now, but I do recognize people in the photos. My mom knew and I can ask her later but by then we may already know.

    My prayers go out to the injured residents and firefighter.

    Posted by Mario Passi February 12, 09 10:25 AM
  1. Glad to see the "brothers" in Newton follow the sorry example of the Boston FD and do not wear their SCBA facepieces-Oh I forgot they are "real jakes" and don't need them

    Posted by Bulldog2616 February 12, 09 10:25 AM
  1. maybe the FF's should use their SCOTT mask while operating in smoke...and then maybe they won't get hurt!

    Posted by herbie February 12, 09 10:30 AM
  1. D; Yes, the house is right where Allison and Los Angeles streets converge. It would have looked like the fire was on Allison St, but it is technically a Los Angeles St. address.

    Posted by Mario Passi February 12, 09 10:35 AM
  1. I doubt the fire dept took 25 mins to get there. The call probably wasn't given to them for 15-20 mins. These guys dont screw around if thats what your implying. I could drive lights and sirens to Quincy from Newton in 25 mins.

    Posted by Ray February 12, 09 10:40 AM
  1. No way does it take a fire dept. 25 min to get to a call !!! especially a call reported as a fire. But i will tell you one minute of someone screaming feels like 1 hour. Those firefighters did an outstanding job making those rescues! I salute Newton Fire Dept. Hope your brother Rich and Dale recover fully and God Bless Newton Fire.

    Posted by andrew February 12, 09 10:45 AM
  1. hey bulldog and herbie...SERIOUSLY? that is all you have to say? You criticize the fireman? Both of you are pieces of garbage.

    Posted by February 12, 09 11:56 AM
  1. and how do you know if they were wearing SCBA or not? The picture shows 3 guys all OUTSIDE the house! Really, get a life

    Posted by D February 12, 09 11:59 AM
  1. Ray, I am not implying anything. I personally know several Newton Fire and Police people and they are awesome. I was just saying what the neighbors told my mother. I doubt it took that long myself and I tend to agree with Andrew in that one minute can seem like 20 in such a situation.

    Posted by Mario Passi February 12, 09 11:59 AM
  1. I know for a fact that there was a newton police car outside house at 6:05 a.m. this morning. It should be easy to determine how long it took Newton FD to respond based on that (police certainly would have called it in ASAP).

    Posted by Observer February 12, 09 12:02 PM
  1. Um...Bulldog and herbie, SCBA face pieces and SCOTT masks will not prevent fire fighters from injuring their backs or falling through floors. How about you think before you speak.

    Posted by Erin February 12, 09 12:10 PM
  1. How would having a mask on help him not fall through the floor? May have helped with visibility some, but honestly, the floor gave way. Stop with the mindless blame toss games and wish him the best; I certainly do.

    Posted by litchik February 12, 09 12:18 PM
  1. I don't ever want to hear anyone say anything negative about a fire fighter.
    How many of you would run into a burning building to save someone else?
    How many of you would run into a burning building to save someones pet?
    How many of you would run int a burning building to save your friend or loved one?
    If you wouldn't do it yourself how dare you criticize someone else who does it regardless of how long it takes them. You should drop to your knees and thank God that we have people willing to do it in the first place. I couldn't do it! Could you?

    Posted by Meme February 12, 09 12:21 PM
  1. Bulldog and herbie, have you ever worn firefighting gear for hours in a burning house? You have no right to say anything. And herbie, since when does wearing a SCOTT mask protect against falling through floors? That made no sense. I have 4 family members currenty on NFD and I am disgusted by your comments

    Posted by Denise February 12, 09 12:25 PM
  1. How can it cause $800K in damage when the house is only worth $550K according to zillow? 88 allison st.

    Posted by mp February 12, 09 12:46 PM
  1. #11, Dan. I know what you are thinking and I thank you for your support.

    But those Jakes on the stick are endangering themselves and the rest of their team by not being in proper uniform. You absolutely need to wear your SCOTT when on the stick and the structure is still invovled, even during overhaul the CO and other gasses and particulates are sky-high.

    Also, not to blame the guy who fell through the roof, but as a ladderman myself, I assume every step on a roof will be my last, and act accordingly. I hope he did the same. Firegrounds are dangerous, take every available precaution.

    Posted by Fireground Fred February 12, 09 12:54 PM
  1. Seriously? It didnt take them 25 minutes to get there. Its a hard job and until any of you do it, you should be banned from posting any such ignorance. Get a life.

    Posted by Jane February 12, 09 01:01 PM
  1. Ritchie,
    Thank God for RIT!!! This just goes to prove that no call is just routine. One minute your venting a hole in the roof. The next your fighting for you life. St. Florian had his hand on your shoulder today. Go and rest now, you earned it!

    P.S. Keep the helmet exactly as it is, the soot should make it look even better!

    Posted by FF165 February 12, 09 01:06 PM
  1. I lived on Los Angeles St for about a year following a massive fire at my home. My family got out of with only a minute to spare, thankfully. There was chaos at first when the first of five trucks trucks arrived, which is a expected since they had to figure out what was happening, but they did a great job. I wish I could say the same for the insurance and their cronies! That is where the real shock will take place.
    May the wounded heal and the good people carry on.

    Posted by Aaron February 12, 09 01:10 PM
  1. they were wearing them while in the fire and smoke....there are no pictures of them while in there...are there?
    get a life

    Posted by cohen February 12, 09 01:28 PM
  1. did anyone see the picture of the firefighter sitting around sipping water? unbelievable, we pay them good taxpayer money for what? A house is burning and their one job is to save it, but they would rather sip water. Cops aren't much better, I saw them the other day sitting around a house where there was supposedly someone inside.

    Posted by Joshua Steinberg February 12, 09 01:43 PM
  1. hey guys and girls the fireman didnt take that long. ALL of the trucks where there. also.. yes it was mary and the boys. donovan and mary both ok, they are at the hospital and staying over night from inhale to much smoke. Big D only got a few burns. the 2 youngest sons are alright. thank god. and thank the firefighters. the house was already questioned on its saftey. its is believed to be an electrical cuase, wires ect. Also a fireman fell through the roof... they did what they could and no one is dead and the fire is out. what more can u ask for? If your a friend of the familys donations are being made

    Posted by rick February 12, 09 02:01 PM
  1. JANE - if you go and read the very first post and my following ones post you will see what I was saying. If you still think I am ignorant after reading them and for quoting my MOTHER you are more than welcome to say it to my face. My email, full name and website are all posted right here. All you need is google baby...

    THANK YOU! - observer and rick for clarifying that it did not take 25 minutes for them to arrive. As I quoted in the VERY FIRST post, that was told to my mother by one of the neighbors next door. He said he had called several times before they came. I imagine he was in a bit of a panic.


    Posted by Mario Passi February 12, 09 02:45 PM
  1. I lived on the same street and also called 911 as soon as I was waken up by the screaming. From when I heard someone screaming for help to the time fire fighters got ready and started to spray water on the house, it took at most 10 minutes. Consider the huge flame I saw coming out from the windows, I am just so happy everyone is alive and nobody got serious injured.

    Posted by Long February 12, 09 04:33 PM
  1. Seriously, how do they figure that house is worth 800.000 dollars. Who comes up with these figures, looks to me like maybe some illegal apartments if 9 pepople are living in a house that size.that landlord/homeowner will have a tough time collecting from homeowners insurance better him than me

    Posted by lumpy148 February 12, 09 06:50 PM
  1. My husband was a NFD Lt. for 30 years, I am now a widow. He died while on the Fire Dept. My son is on the NFD. Of which his Father would be very proud as am I . So to Bull dog, herbie, observers AND JOSHUA STEINBERG You DO NOT have the training and or skills to do this kind of PROFESSION !!!!! So .... Before you Speak KNOW what the hell you're talking about !!! We are ALL tax payers!!!!!! The Newton Fire Dept. AND the Newton Police Dept. do an outstanding job!!!! They Will Always be there for you !!!! I hope you will never have use there services But if you do , maybe THEN you can APPRECIATE the services that the City of Newton offers ALL of you . My prayers go out to the victums of this tragic fire and to the injured firefighters ! God Bless J.E.T.

    Posted by Jean E. Tempesta February 12, 09 07:20 PM
  1. I am confused as to why some folks feel it is appropriate to trash the Newton Fire and Police Departments -- especially based on a picture of someone drinking water. I live down the street from the fire and was there this morning. It was the first time I have seen the fire department in action and I was impressed. These guys were working hard and doing a great job in a dangerous situation. I appreciate and respect the risks that they take to keep us all safe.

    Posted by Witness February 12, 09 08:02 PM
  1. Contributions to help the family can be made into an account set up for the Donovan family at The Village Bank, Nonantum. Thank you to the Newton firefighters for keeping us all safe.

    Posted by SuZ February 12, 09 09:06 PM
  1. Joshua,
    It is common to have relief firefighters on scene as to not allow the ones who were working for a long period of time drop from dehydration. EVERY fire dept in the country abides by this policy. It is a safety measure. Come down to the station and put all that gear on and walk around for 10 min without doing any work and you will have a tiny inkling to what it feels like.

    Posted by the big picture February 12, 09 10:19 PM
  1. First of all, Newton Police and Firefighters deserve a lot of credit for doing what they could as safetly as possible. I can't thank them enough for risking their lives. As for Richard Busa and the other firefighter injured, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Now, the house is so old, and how quick the fire ignited (believed to be electrical) in the course of minutes, it is a miracle that everyone in the house evacuated safetly. There is nothing salvagable in the house, and everything inside is burned to ashes. As a close friend of family I can say there all safe now. Mary and Donovan Doherty are getting care at Mass General as the article said, and the other two sons are with their family, but I know they would appreciate thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

    My family, along with family and close friends of the Doherty's are taking donations for the family in hopes that we can raise some support for them. If you are interested in more information, feel free to contact me at my email address...

    Posted by Paula Strayhorn February 12, 09 10:58 PM
  1. I lived in that house for 22 years. My heart goes out to the Busa family who I have known all my life. Thank you Rich.

    Posted by JIm Brashears February 13, 09 12:52 AM
  1. Best wishes to the injured firefighter and the civilians. This is a tough job, and there is no shortage of people who will take cheep shots and second guess our work. To think these guys were concerned enough about their injured and trapped firefighter that they forgot about their own safety, putting the need to act and rescue before their own safety is understandable. We find it easy to criticize others with only a snapshot and a split second of an entire event. What I saw in the photos was men doing their job and placing other peoples needs before theirs. I saw wariors who went to battle and did things others only wish they could do. Now for the idiot about the firefighter drinking water. Shut up and crawl back under that rock you slid out from. I would let anyone of those firefighters ride the seat behind me ANYDAY!!!
    Maybe on your free time stop by the firehouse and explain your concerns to them. I'll bet they have an answer waiting for you.

    Posted by Capt. Tim Bradley AFD February 13, 09 01:03 AM
  1. Its been a few days now since Ive gotten out of bed. I knew there would be people bad mouthing the Newton Fire Dept again. A few of my friends told me about some of the comments people have written. If you dont know the job you cant speak about us wearing our SCBA scott packs. The image of me falling through two floors hasn't left my memory. I can still feel it and see it. Only three thoughts ran through my mind at the time. "Oh Boy I found a hole", "This is how I'm going to Die" and "its going to hurt when I hit the ground". I didn't go into this fire to fall down a hole. I went in this fire because my brothers were going in to fight this stuburn fire. For everyones support I thank you. For you three or four who feel they should speak, your welcome. But I'm willing to bet you'll never say any of your negative crap to my face or to another Firefighter.

    Posted by FF. Busa, Richard February 14, 09 11:15 PM
  1. Enough with the negativity and criticism! It's time for the Newton community to come together and support the Murphy family and the Newton Firefighters and Police who risk their lives for our safety. Thank God no one was killed!

    Posted by Judi Bartek February 15, 09 12:03 PM
  1. Dear Mr. Busa
    I wish you a rapid recovery from your injuries. I salute you and firefighters everywhere for the life saving work you do.

    Posted by Siu Wai Stroshane February 16, 09 10:21 AM
  1. As a retired Police Officer on the Newton Police Department, I've worked side by side with Firefighters and brother Police officers. Many times incidents have touched close to my personel and with my family and friends. I have been on incidents with Firefighter Busa. One incident in particular, on Parker Street, it was so hot I needed to get a garden hose from a nearby home to hose him down because an ambulance transporting to a nearby hospital was hit by another car. Firefighter Busa held onto the injured EMT worker for an hour, in full gear, to help save his life. If you want to criticize the Police and Fire go on and do it. But live their lives first. He went into the house on Allison Street to do his job along with every other Firefighter and Police officer. Amen to my bothers and sisters on the force, and Mary Doherty and her three boys will continue to praise them everyday for the rest of their lives.

    Posted by Retired Officer Jim Pellegrine February 16, 09 10:27 PM