Devastating fire on Lebanon Street

Mar 8, 2018 by

Published in the March 9, 2018 edition

MELROSE — Firefighters battled a wind-whipped blaze that eventually destroyed a single family home on Lebanon Street last Saturday night.

The cause had not been determined earlier this week. No one was injured, and the men who were in the home at the time were able to get out. Pets successfully exited unharmed too.

The first call regarding the fire came into headquarters around 8:15 p.m. All Melrose apparatus was dispatched to the scene. Capt. Mike Sullivan, the officer in charge, saw heavy fire overlapping windows on the second floor of the 2 1/2 story, wood frame house at 504 Lebanon St. as he approached from Upham Street. He quickly called in a second alarm.

That brought 15 additional firefighters aboard a ladder truck and four engines from out of town departments. 

THE SAUGUS FIRE Department assisted in battling the blaze at 504 Lebanon St. (Photo courtesy of the Saugus Fire Department)

Fire officials reported receiving additional calls for explosions on the second floor of the home.

Firefighters were faced with heavy flames. The wind was blowing from the north — a nor’easter was still hovering in the area) and embers from the fire were blowing all over the area.

Firefighters attacked the blaze aggressively, officials said, but it had too much of a head start. There was a lot of flame in all the walls of the single family home, and the fact that it was of a balloon frame construction with not fire stops didn’t help matters.

“Fire was everywhere,” said Fire Capt. Ed Collina. “It got a quick head start. This shows how fast fire develops. It took less than five minutes for the house to be completely engulfed” in flames.

Firefighters were able to make entry into the home on the second floor and then made their way to the attic. About 50 minutes into the firefight, Capt. Sullivan ordered everyone out, fearing the home was structurally unsound.

With firefighters outside the house, they turned their large stream appliances on the fire.

The home suffered a tremendous amount of structural damage and was said to be in “tear down” condition.

“These people,” Collina said of the residents, “lost everything.”

Firefighters were able to bring some comfort to the family, retrieving photograph of a deceased son and an American flag.

Firefighters left around 2 a.m., but kept a fire watch on the premises until about 7 a.m. Sunday to make sure fire didn’t rekindle.

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