By Angeljean Chiaramida
---- — SALISBURY — A devastating fire at the beach was averted yesterday, after firefighters went to check out a fire thought to be extinguished, only to find it burning behind the surface.
According to Salisbury Fire Lt. David Doyle, the department got a call from Ed Hunt, Jr., owner of the property at 17 North End Blvd., Hunt’s Seafood, at 1:30 p.m. yesterday, concerning a fire thought to be extinguished.
“He said they’d had a fire and thought they’d put it out, but they wanted us to come by and check on it,” Doyle said. “When we got there, we found the fire was still burning. When we opened up the area, it was burning between the first and second floors. It was absolutely a good thing the owner called us.”
Sending a total of two engines and the ladder truck from Salisbury, Doyle said the department struck a second alarm that brought mutual aid from Newburyport and Amesbury, which sent ladder trucks. Seabrook Fire Department provided coverage at Salisbury Fire Station, and the Rye Fire Department brought its air truck to refill spent breathing apparatuses for firefighters.
Doyle said the fire proceeded to the second floor of the building but was knocked down within about half an hour.
Salisbury called for aid because many of the buildings at the beach are known to have many sections within them where fire can travel quickly.
“We thought we might need the manpower to chase the fire through voids in the building,” Doyle said.
The extreme cold embracing the region did have an impact of the firefighters, he said, but there were no injuries.
“The cold plays a factor with fatigue with firefighters, because the gear (worn) gets wet and gets heavy from the ice,” he said. “The building isn’t encrusted with ice, but there is ice on the road.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Doyle said, and the estimated cost of the destruction hasn’t been determined yet.