Oxford Emergency dispatchers started receiving calls reporting a structure fire on Monday January 2nd about 2am at 604 Main Street.
First arriving crews from Oxford and Auburn found heavy smoke and fire pushing from the front of a popular hair salon in town that also had two floors of occupied apartments above.
Oxford and Auburn crews arrived almost simultaneously and started hitting the bulk of the heavy fire in the front of the building.
More crews started to arrive as the heavy fire was knocked down in the salon.
There was a still a heavy smoke condition throughout the building. Crews started to mount an attack on the apartments above the salon. Crews from Leicester and Auburn made first entry into the apartments above.
Shortly after entry I heard those dreaded words you never want to hear on the fireground. Being the communications enthusiast I am I had my radio on scan to make sure I heard Oxford and all the neighboring communities transmissions. It was then I heard someone call a “Mayday”. There was no answer to the Mayday call. As I pull my radio out of my coat pocket I hear the “Mayday” call a second time and notice it was on the District 7 Orange channel.
As I was running over to the incident commander to tell him someone was on the wrong channel calling a “Mayday” It was found that it was a crew from Auburn who were starting to get impinged upon and were able to safely self extricate out a window.
The second floor apartment appeared to have flashed over shooting a good volume of fire out the front and bravo side window.
Crews from Charlton, Dudley, Millbury, Southbridge and Webster converged on the scene to aid in the firefight. Charlton and Dudley aerial crews worked to vent the roof as other crews made entry into the apartments to knock down the fire.
A 4th alarm was sounded by the incident commander.
The oddly shaped building made for a tough time to track down all the fire in the walls and voids.
Companies remained on scene all night chasing the hot spots and overhauling.
A canteen truck from the Grafton Fire Department and a Rehabilitation truck from the state Department of Fire Services arrived to help support firefighters.
At the time of this writing it had been deemed the fire was accidental in nature and will have to be demolished.
Also interesting to note that people passing the fire had stopped and helped residents of the apartments to safety before the fire department had arrived.
There are two short video clips at the end of the gallery