By Neil H. Dempsey
---- — BEVERLY — Firefighters tackled two significant fires — one at an Ellsworth Avenue duplex and another in the woods at the Bald Hill reservation — in less than 24 hours early this week.
The first fire was reported Monday about 9:15 p.m., when a neighbor to 11 Ellsworth Ave. reported that heavy smoke was coming from the two-story building.
The two-alarm blaze gutted the right-hand side of the building before firefighters were able to extinguish it by spraying water on it from the ground and from two ladder trucks, all while a crowd of 30 or 40 people looked on from the street.
Firefighters appeared to have the blaze largely under control by 10 p.m. There were no injuries, and nobody was home at the time. The fire is under investigation, and no cause has been determined yet.
Danvers, Hamilton and Wenham sent crews to assist with the fire, while Salem, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Topsfield provided station coverage during the incident.
The second fire burned about 2 acres on top of Bald Hill reservation, near Centerville Elementary School. Lt. Arthur Fitzpatrick said the department received multiple calls about the smell of smoke in the area yesterday morning, with firefighters finally pinpointing the location of the blaze about 8:40 a.m.
“It did take awhile, just because of the location,” Fitzpatrick said. “There are houses nearby, but not really right there.”
Firefighters set up a hydrant supply for water, ran lines into the woods and began extinguishing the edges of the blaze, slowly working their way inward, Fitzpatrick said.
Crews remained on scene extinguishing hot spots until roughly 6 p.m. No structures were involved.
Fitzpatrick said the fire’s cause remained a mystery, and the “incredibly dry” conditions of late had made things all the worse.
“Hopefully, we get some rain now,” he said.
Danvers and Salem crews assisted at the scene of the fire.
A total of 18 firefighters worked the blaze.