Letter to the Editor – Aug 7

On August 7, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The  Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and  do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff  or publishers)

On July 25th The Somerville Fire Department was faced with the daunting task of extinguishing a fast moving fire on Calvin Street, which was at great chance of consuming six closely situated multi-family homes.

Upon arrival, it appeared that the entire neighborhood was in peril of igniting.  The Firefighters work was demanding at this early morning blaze, but the Firefighters were able to cut the fire off from extending much further than the homes that were burning when first on scene.

I would like to commend the Firefighters of this Department for their efforts.  I would also like to thank the Firefighters from surrounding communities for coming to our aid when faced with such a monumental task of putting out a fire of this magnitude.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank The American Red Cross and The Boston Sparks Association A-10 Canteen and also Cataldo Ambulance for providing assistance with rehab and hydration stations. The Boston Sparks respond to all multiple alarm fires in the Metro Boston area and are a welcome sight to all Firefighters.  A very special thanks to the Holiday Inn in Somerville, who supplied each Fire Station with lunch that day.  Your kind acts will always be remembered and truly appreciated.

The Men and Women of the Somerville Firefighters Association take great pride in our work and will continue to strive to provide the first class service to the public in the Greatest City in America.


Thomas Ross

President, Somerville Firefighters

Local 76


7 Responses to “Letter to the Editor – Aug 7”

  1. mememe says:

    I think the firefighters did a great job, but is this really a letter to the editor of the firefighters union patting itself on the back?

  2. ritepride says:

    No they were acknowledging the help received. Considering that the Somerville Fire Dept operates with less personnel and apparatus today, it was a truly great effort they did in holding the fire from spreading from the enormous radiant heat created by the fire itself. In Chelsea a small fire eventually destroyed over 18 city blocks of homes and businesses as a result of the radiant heat in the original fire building.

    The budget cuts in MA over the last few decades have resulted in less fire apparatus/personnel today than existed when the Chelsea Conflagration occurred. Thus today it takes a bit longer to receive mutual aid. Back then fire response topped off at 5 alarms. Today the number of alarms on a fire can go to 10 alarms in order to get enough mutual aid to respond to assist the city when a major fire occurs.

    One thing will remain the same always in the fire service. You have to have good fire apparatus but it is the firefighters who go into the buildings and put the fires out. In the 50s’, 60s’, Each shift – Engine (water supply) Companies had 5 men assigned to each Engine truck. Ladder Companies (search/rescue, open up ceilings walls checking for hot spots), had 6 men assigned to each Ladder Truck. Today each Engine, Ladder, most of the time have 3 men/women on each truck.
    No computers, androids, robots to put the fires out. Brave, dedicated, hard working human beings, willing to put their lives in jeopardy to save others.
    Somerville Fire = Somerville Pride. God Bless them all!

  3. tryreading says:

    meme, did you even read it? it describes the event, then thanks the people who helped. I like knowing which businesses helped out, it changes who I go to with my hard-earned $$$. seriously get your head out of your butt. I wouldn’t mind it it WAS a self-pat on the back, which it isn’t

  4. mememe says:

    @”Considering that the Somerville Fire Dept operates with less personnel and apparatus today” Source?

    Per the 2006 budget(the oldest I could find online) the Fire Dept got $10,414,939 ($12,062,060 per CPI growth) vs $15,275,101 the fire dept will get this fiscal year. Please don’t rely on the hyperboil that you are fed, deal with facts.

    @”The budget cuts in MA over the last few decades have resulted in less fire apparatus/personnel today than existed when the Chelsea Conflagration occurred.”

    Are you really stating that if your house was on fire you would rather have the fire dept of 1980 come to your rescue then the fire dept of 2013? The fire dept of today are better trained, better equipped and better responders. Don’t take that as a knock to fire dept of old, but there have just been alot of advances as well as better funding which leads to the current talented group.

    My only comment was the only people you see advertising in the Somerville news about how they did a good job is the Fire union and politicians. I think it is widely acknowledged that the SFD does a great job.

  5. Joe Lynch says:


    I completely disagree with your first assessment. I read this as Tom Ross thanking those who deserved to be thanked. The firefighters, other first responders, assistance agencies and local business. And if it appears to anyone that Ross is patting his folks on the back for a superb job, so be it. If I see Ross, I’ll give him a pat on the back too.

    As for local politicians patting themselves on the back, I agree with you there. Most of them appear to be double jointed.

    Joe Lynch

  6. ritepride says:

    Source? city records, etc. $$ figures are not reliable in that the firefighters today, (wages/benefits) is higher than what is was a decade ago. Actual number of personnel is what matters. When my uncle was on (50s-60s, early 70s) there were 256 firefighters + the administrative, shop, fire prevention members. Today there are 148 firefighters, + the administrative, shop, fire prevention members.

    Better training, etc., is a valuable aid but if there are only 3 firefighters on the Engine, one has to remain to get the hydrant connected to the pump and maintain the proper water flow, leaving 2 firefighters to enter the bldg for search, fire suppression, etc. till others arrive. the usual response is 3 engines, 2 ladder trucks, the rescue and a chief. They come from different stations so they all do not arrive at once.

    2 years ago within a 20 minute time period, 3 of the stations that are near my area West Somerville, were all tied up @ Tufts for medical emergencies, thus if a fire occurred at the same time in my area the nearest available apparatus would be coming from Fire Hdqtrs at Broadway/Walnut St or Union Sq Fire Station….So yes I would rather have the fire dept of the 70s/80s be around to respond.

    Fact is the more 1st responding personnel equals faster extinguishment of the fire and less property/life loss. You can have all the best equipment and training in the world but if you do not have the sufficient number of personnel on scene WHEN needed, then the fire has the upper hand.

  7. youyouyou says:

    learn how to read a budget before you try to speak on it. the total amount of money isn’t key here. there are fixed costs that rise all the time, and there’s no choice there. the key is number of f.fighters and amount of available equipment is what’s important

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