Thursday, April 23, 2009 Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Smoke On The Water In Portsmouth

Around 05:30 Thursday Morning firefighters from the Portsmouth Fire Department responded to a report of "Smoke In The Building" at New England Boatworks building 9 located at 9 Lagoon Road. First arriving companies reported "smoke showing" moments later fire was venting thru the roof of the 50x200 one story Quonset hut which sat in the middle of a row of seven similar type buildings. A third alarm was transmitted quickly which brought in mutual aid to the fire and to cover the station, due to a heavy fire condition firefighters on the fireground utilized a defensive operation as fire extended to exposures on sides two and four (using water as side 1) and a fourth alarm was struck. Middletown Ladder 39, Navy Ladder 1 & Portsmouth Tower 1 used ladder pipes to gain the upper hand while additional members drafted from Narraganset Bay to maintain a water supply due to a lack of water pressure on yard hydrants. Incident command requested Providence Marine 1, Cranston Marine 2, & East Providence Marine 3 to the scene along with the East Providence & Newport hazardous materials response teams due to unknown chemicals which were exposed during the fire DEM & The US Coast Guard were also notified. Firefighters From Portsmouth, Navy, Tiverton, Bristol, Swansea, Middletown, Newport, & Warren worked in a surround & drown operation for hours before the heavy fire subsided while Fall River Covered, Due to high levels of cyanide several members were transported to area hospitals for further evaluation, All firefighters were also required to go thru decon prior to leaving the scene. Excavation equipment was called in to assist with exposing hotspots and help with access to investigators later that afternoon. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Building 9 was a complete loss, Building 8 on Side 2 & Building 10 on Side 4 were heavily damaged. No serious injuries were reported, Both Providence Canteens, The Fall River Special Services Rehab Unit, & The American Red Cross responded to assist with rehab.
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