Extreme Temperatures Make Brutal Work for Firefighters
ASHFIELD & CONWAY, Mass (WGGB) — “Mother Nature didn’t like us today,” Ashfield Fire Chief Delmar Haskins said while reflecting on a brutal day of firefighting Friday.
That was an understatement. Billowing smoke and dangling icicles just feet apart from each other were vivid, telling signs of a dangerous day in Franklin County. An out of control fire burned a log styled home on Briar Hill Road to the ground in Ashfield.
“These towns coming here, by the time they get here, their pumps are already frozen,” Haskins said. “They can’t do much about it. You just have to keep on going.”
The fire left only rubble and a chimney behind. Haskins says crews battled as hard as they could in downright frigid, sub zero temperatures, but many of them had to be pulled from the Ashfield incident to respond to a second house fire that erupted on Main Poland Road in nearby Conway.
“We got here on scene and the roof was already caved in on the first story and went down hill fast from there,” Conway Fire Chief Robert Baker said.
Altogether a dozen Franklin County fire departments were called in. Both homes were located at the top of large hills that were covered in ice, and both were completely destroyed.
“My trucks are back at the garage and are all frozen solid,” Baker said. “Everybody’s truck that’s been here to pump water or trying to draft water are all frozen up. It’s just a disaster.”
Two adults were left homeless in the Ashfield fire. Two adults and six children were displaced in the Conway fire. The Red Cross arrived to help everyone and a state rehab truck was brought in to keep firefighters safe and fresh. Nobody was seriously hurt, although some firefighters may have suffered minor frostbite to exposed areas. The cause of both fires is under investigation.