, Newburyport, MA

September 30, 2013

Richenburg praises fire department for quick response


---- — SALISBURY — Fathers can get pretty grateful when people save their children from devastating occurrences, and last week Selectman Henry Richenburg was no different than any other father when he took time to thank the people who saved his son’s house from burning down.

Most selectmen are proud of their fire departments, but Richenburg now has a very personal reason. The quick action of Salisbury firefighters and the help of others from neighboring communities drew his public praise and very heartfelt thanks at the board’s recent meeting.

According to Richenburg, a smoke alarm alerted his son to fire danger late Sunday night on Sept. 15, prompting a 911 call. Within a few minutes, Salisbury firefighters were on the scene, Richenburg said. In a circumstance when seconds count, Richenburg said, their swift and effective action prevented a disaster.

“Another two minutes and the house could have burned down,” Richenburg said. “No people or animals were lost. I can’t believe we got away with so little damage.”

According to Salisbury firefighter Matt Swenson, the call came in late Sunday about 11:09 p.m., with Engine 1 leaving the station by 11:10 and arriving at its destination two minutes later. On the truck were senior firefighter Michael Harrison and firefighters Frank Demand and Daniel Souliotis.

“They found heavy smoke showing when they got there from a room above the garage,” Swenson said.

A box was struck that brought more men to the station. Engine 4 took off six minutes later, and the ladder truck followed it within five minutes, the Salisbury Fire Department log shows. A mutual aid call went out, Swenson said, bringing Newburyport and Amesbury fire departments to Richenburg’s son’s Roberts Road home. Seabrook Fire Department provided equipment and people to Salisbury for station coverage.

“The guys did a good job knocking it down quickly,” Swenson said. “It was pretty close to flashing over, that’s the point when everything ignites.”

The suspected cause was electrical, Swenson said, possibly a lamp.

But last Monday, Richenburg wasn’t too concerned with the cause. He was interested in thanking the people whose selfless acts and quick response prevented a family tragedy.