Town firefighters are receiving high praise from fire and government officials for the outstanding work they did at a major structure fire last Wednesday.
Responders from all five Enfield fire companies attacked the late-night blaze at 50 Hassmar Road, in the Shaker Pines Fire District. The mutual aid call was toned out immediately, rather than having the department in jurisdiction arrive and then call for additional help.
"With the magnitude of that fire, the guys did a superb job," Shaker Pines Fire Chief Charlie Macsata said. "It didn't matter whose name was on the coat - the guys seamlessly worked together."
The raging fire was under control within an hour of the initial dispatch. However, the intense heat and flames prevented rescue personnel from saving Hope Hartnett, 13, who perished in her upstairs bedroom.
"The knockdown on the fire was great, but you feel like a failure," Macsata said.
Three firefighters were injured when a deck collapsed at the rear of the house, prompting a "Mayday" call on the radio from one of the fallen men. A pair of audio recordings from the radio are available here; the "Mayday" call comes at the 15:50 mark of the second tape.
"Dispatcher Patrick Carifa did an outstanding job; he heard that "Mayday" and immediately notified command," Enfield fire commissioner Scott Prentiss said.
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, state Rep. David Kiner and Mayor Scott Kaupin visited the Shaker Pines station Sunday, where firefighters from across town gathered for a debriefing.
"This goes to prove our fire departments work seamlessly together," Kaupin said. They know what to do and how to do it, and their coordination saved other structures nearby. They did yeoman's work, as they always do."
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. Town officials have been working with the state fire marshal's office, but the pending storm has caused a brief delay.
"A lot of things still haven't happened due to the storm preparation," Macsata said.