SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 4, 2013

Fire rips through home

Two firefighters injured, dog dies in Swampscott blaze

SWAMPSCOTT — Two firefighters sustained minor injuries after a stubborn, smoky three-alarm fire tore through a single-family home at 50 Andrew Road yesterday morning, displacing a family of six.

Fire officials said below-freezing temperatures hampered firefighting efforts.

While the family, a couple and four children, were not home when the fire was reported just after 9 a.m., a dog inside perished, fire officials said. Two pet rabbits in a hutch outside were rescued.

Two firefighters suffered minor injures and were treated at Salem Hospital and released, fire Capt. Kevin Thompson said.

The house has been deemed “uninhabitable,” Thompson said. The cause remains under investigation.

“It is very stubborn,” Deputy fire Chief James Potts said around 11:45 a.m. in a short press conference.

“We have it contained,” he added when asked if the fire was out.

Shortly before Potts spoke, a Marblehead Animal Control officer accompanied two firefighters, one with breathing apparatus strapped to his back, as they carried the body of the family pet wrapped in a blanket to a vehicle parked on Paradise Road.

“They lost a pet,” Potts said, “confirmed, a dog.”

When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke and fire billowed out the back of the house, which can be seen from Paradise Road. The property is assessed at $367,300 and has been owned by Peter and Laura Ghirardini since 2003, town records show.

“I don’t believe anyone was home when we arrived,” Potts said.

Yesterday’s frigid temperatures hampered efforts to put out the fire. Potts said the hydrant closest to the home, on the corner of Paradise Road, was frozen when crews tried to hook up to it.

“I ordered people out of the building more than once today,” Potts said, “once because of a frozen hydrant.”

Thompson said firefighters found another hydrant 150 yards away and ran a line to it.

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