SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

June 24, 2014

Firefighters put out fire on roof of Salem Hospital Birthplace

Neil H. Dempsey
Staff Writer

---- — SALEM -- The Fire Department says a small blaze it extinguished on top of the Birthplace at Salem Hospital on Tuesday afternoon was caused by workers using an acetylene torch.

There were no injuries.

A report of a fire on the roof brought crews to the hospital about noontime. Deputy fire Chief Glen Beaudet said firefighters quickly doused the blaze and then cut away a 6-foot-by-10-foot section of the rubber roof to see if it had extended. It hadn't.

"It was a stone roof with rubber and foam and cement under it, so it really didn't catch anything to the building," he said.

In the meantime, a portion of the Axelrod building was evacuated. Beaudet said a nurse at the Birthplace inquired about evacuating, but that it wasn't necessary.

"I told them they were safe in place," he said.

The workers who apparently started the fire had been using the torch while working on an air-conditioning unit that was up on wooden blocks. The fire was largely contained to those blocks, Beaudet said.

Neil H. Dempsey can be reached at ndempsey@salemnews.com or via Twitter at @NeilDempseySN.