SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 27, 2012

Firefighters knock down 'stubborn' fire

By Bethany Bray STAFF WRITER
The Salem News

---- — PEABODY — Firefighters battled a basement fire at 11 Helen Drive yesterday afternoon.

The one-alarm fire created a lot of smoke but did not spread to the home’s upper floors. No injuries were reported.

The smoke was so thick in the basement — “zero visibility,” said Capt. Dale Kimball — firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to find the fire.

“It was a stubborn fire,” Kimball said. “Basement (fires) are the most difficult, because there’s no ventilation. It took us eight to 10 minutes to find the fire.”

One resident was home at the time of the fire. She evacuated and dialed 911 just as the smoke detectors went off.

Firefighters knocked the fire down with water in roughly 15 minutes, said Kimball, and opened windows and chopped holes in walls to ventilate.

“Our guys did a great job. It was strong work by everyone, a total team effort,” Kimball said.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation yesterday evening. The home has a large, finished basement, said Kimball.

The smell of smoke wafted down Helen Drive yesterday afternoon as neighbors gathered to watch the firefighters and chat with the residents of 11 Helen Drive. Numerous emergency vehicles lined Helen Drive and fire hoses stretched across the road.

The homeowner declined to speak to a reporter at the fire scene.

Helen Drive is in West Peabody, not far from Routes 1 and 114.

All five of Peabody’s fire engines and a ladder truck responded to yesterday’s fire. Lynnfield, Lynn and Salem fire departments sent crews to Peabody for station coverage while Peabody crews were on Helen Drive.

City records show 11 Helen Drive as owned by Frank and Debra Pendola; the house and land was assessed by the city for $379,300 in 2012.

Bethany Bray can be reached at bbray@salemnews.com and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.