, Salem, MA

March 20, 2012

Exploding tires startle residents

By Ethan Forman
Staff writer

DANVERS — The explosions that woke those in Ann Marie Ruotolo's house on Bates Street early Saturday morning turned out to be tires popping on two burning box trucks parked at Harvey Industries on nearby Water Street.

The incident was a far cry from the chemical plant explosion that rocked Danversport on the morning of the day before Thanksgiving in November 2006, but it still left residents wondering about what caused the explosions and the sound of sirens that could be heard later, Ruotolo said.

The explosions could be heard in neighboring Peabody, Ruotolo said.

"I heard two big ones and a few littler ones," said police Sgt. Robert Bettencourt, who lives in Peabody not far from Danversport.

The burning trucks were parked in front of the building products warehouse at 125 Water St., and the fire was reported at 5:01 a.m., Bettencourt said. The trucks were parked in front of the building just off Water Street, which is behind the headquarters of the Pelletier and Milbury Corp. construction company.

The fire appears to have started in a portable forklift mounted at the back of one of the box trucks.

The fire then spread to the other truck, fire Chief Kevin Farrell said.

The department received multiple calls for fire and explosions, and Peabody sent an engine to the scene. Firefighters were able to douse the flames "pretty quickly," Farrell said.

The fire does not appear to be suspicious. Detective Sgt. William Carleton and fire Capt. Frank Sacco reviewed surveillance tapes from nearby Eastern Propane, Bettencourt said. The tapes showed a column of smoke rising from the back of the box truck, helping pinpoint where the fire started, Farrell said. No one was seen going near the trucks in the half-hour preceding the fire, Farrell said.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at or on Twitter @DanverSalemNews.