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Norwood - Local Town Pages

Sirens Active with Summer Heat

Sep 28, 2020 10:01AM ● By Donna Lane

The Norwood Fire Department (NFD) has been very busy during the months of July, August, and September. With two weeks to go this month, there have been 29 fires that our NFD firefighters have extinguished. Thirteen of those fires were mulch fires. 

“The extremely dry summer season with not a lot of precipitation made conditions conducive to mulch fires this year,”  Norwood Fire Chief George T. Morrice said. 

The other fires involved buildings, vehicles, and a dumpster.

From the end of July to the end of August, there were three house fires and a flames erupted at the Certain Teed Plant on August 29th. According to the department’s Facebook page, the process of making roof shingles is very dangerous and can often start fires. Because of this, the Norwood Fire Department and CertainTeed have formed a close relationship over the years. Once a year, at minimum, they conduct a familiarization tour and pre-incident planning of the site with site supervisors.

An interesting fact about the plant is they are one of the few factories left that still employ a fire brigade. A majority of these fires can be handled by the CertainTeed Fire Brigade who are both workers at the plant and trained in fire suppression. 

“Firefighters have come to know that there are not many false alarms that come from their location at 1077 Pleasant Street,” Morrice said.  “If an alarm or a phone call is received, there is a fire and it is bigger than the fire brigade can handle. It is for this reason that a full first alarm assignment of two Norwood Engines and Ladder, both ambulances, and a mutual aid Walpole Engine is dispatched on the receipt of a call.” 

Thankfully, this fire was put out within two hours and there were no injuries.

Asked if the fires seemed to be increasing this year, Chief Morrice looked at the data from the same period of July through September for 2017 through 2020. In 2017 there were 30 fires, in 2018 there were 23 fires, in 2019 there were 21 fires and, as of September 16, 2020 there have been 29 fires. Data was not readily available as to the types of fires for the previous years, but it would appear that the trend is up and that the dry summer season and lack of rain has contributed to this year’s increase.

The good news is that the new Engine 5 is being put to good use. Chief Morrice spoke very highly of the new engine. He said a committee of firefighters and officers designed it. 

“A lot of hard work, time, and effort went into its design,” Morrice explained. “They came up with a fantastic piece of equipment that’s going to serve the firefighters and the people of Norwood for years to come.” 

This is very high praise from the low-key Chief.

What makes the engine so special? 

“It is more functional ... for example the supply hose bed on Engine 5 is much lower than in other engines which makes it easier to access,” Morrice said. “It is a very intelligently laid out truck.”

Chief Morrice wants residents to know that even though Norwood Hospital is closed that the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is operating normally. He emphasized that the transport times are longer due to the hospital’s closure. Patients are being transported to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Needham, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital in Boston, and the Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton.

When a fire is called, the scope is often unknown. Each time a firefighter suits up and jumps on an engine he puts himself in danger – in the winter when water often freezes and in the blazing heat of summer that adds to the heat of a fire. They put their lives on the line to save property and people. We are incredibly lucky to have a strong, dedicated department led by an experienced Chief. We thank them for their knowledge, dedication and bravery.