Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


April 24, 2014

Brush fires hamper train service, endanger homes


There were no injuries and no significant property damage, Dolan said. The cause of the fire in the hopper car is not known, the chief said.

One of the fires burned a large area behind a Market Basket warehouse, but firefighters stopped it before it could do any damage, he said.

Firefighters had to dig holes under the tracks so they could bring the hoses to the fires, Dolan said. In one spot, they had to lay 1,400 feet of hose.

While getting at the fires was a challenge, a nearby pond actually helped the firefighters. Using a flow pump, they drafted water from the pond to pour on the fires.

By 6 p.m., the fires were out. Engines 1 and 2 and a forestry truck from the Andover Fire Department knocked the fires down with assistance from Wilmington and North Reading firefighters. The Lawrence and North Reading fire departments covered the stations while the local crews attacked the fires.

“We had to call two alarms,” Mansfield said. In addition to a full shift, an additional 19 off-duty firefighters were called in to fight the fires.

Mansfield said the Regency Ridge fire was mostly out, but there were some smoldering hot spots that remained Tuesday morning.

He said it’s not known what started the Regency Ridge fire, but that it’s likely kids, who are on vacation from school this week, were behind it. He said the extremely dry conditions made matters worse.

The Regency Ridge fire was worrisome because it was burning up a hill toward some of the houses, he said. That fire was out by midday Tuesday.

“We were extremely concerned about that,” he said.

— Staff writer Paul Tennant contributed to this report.

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