A hot Sunday for Chester firefighters

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Chester Fire Chief Matt Wilson had planned a quiet Sunday by the pool. But it was not to be.

In the first call of the day Chester firefighters close Grafton Street as utility workers repair the damage. Photo by Shawn Cunningham

At 12:55 p.m., the Fire Department was called out for a tree that fell on Grafton Road, just south of High Street, taking down wires and knocking out power for many on a very hot day. One of those who lost power was Dan Putnam who lives on River Street, just a few hundred yards away from Grafton Road.

While the Fire Department was directing traffic around the downed power lines, Putnam started the generator in his shed for power. Sometime later, that shed caught fire.

“We’re not exactly sure of what started it,” said Wilson who speculated that the heat of the day may have contributed to it.

With the its Engine 2 just a block away, the Fire Department’s response when that fire call came in was quick.

“The shed was a total loss and there was minor damage to the house,” said Wilson. “But if we hadn’t already been out with the truck and so nearby he could have lost them both.” In addition to the shed, Putnam lost a number of tools that were in the shed and a golf cart.

Meanwhile, while Chester firefighters were at the fire on River Street, the Proctorsville crew covering the Chester station was called out to a utility pole fire near the original Grafton Road call.

Returning to their station, the Chester firefighters were then called out to help with a rescue in Springfield where an injured man was down a steep gorge “about half a mile back in the woods,” according to Wilson. The Chester crew set up a rope and pulley system to lift a rescue basket out of the gorge.

And while that was going on, a Rockingham crew responded to the report of a cooking stove fire on Pineview Drive. Luckily the fire was out when they arrived and the firefighters – who were covering the Chester station – helped ventilate and clear the smoke from the home.

No one was injured in any of the incident, according to Wilson, but there some firefighters, wearing heavy turnout gear, had to grapple with the oppressive heat. “The Chester Ambulance was on the scene at the River Street fire and took good care of us,” said Wilson, who arrived home at 8:30 p.m.

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  1. Mary Putnam says:

    Thanks to the dedicated members of Chester Fire, Chester Ambulance, and Chester Police for their timely response and care in putting out the fire and keeping everyone safe. The day was brutally hot but the service provided was never compromised. You make Chester proud! Thanks to each and everyone who serves our communities!

  2. Charlea Baker says:

    Thank you to the Police, Firefighters and Rescue Squad for all that hard work keeping our neighborhood safe on a brutally hot day. We appreciate all you do. We watched as all the trucks were going back and forth on River Street and decided the last thing you needed was us and our dog rubber necking and getting in the way. Thank you to the Chester Telegraph for keeping us informed on what all the hubbub was about.