Chief: Crews faced several challenges battling Dartmouth summer home fire

SE Mass

DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — Weather, time of year, and the distance from the nearest fire station were all challenges crews were faced with when a fire broke out inside a high-end summer home on Salters Point.

Fire crews were dispatched to Naushon Avenue Thursday just before 4:30 p.m.

The neighborhood – which is made up of largely seasonal homes – is sparsely populated this time of year. Acting Dartmouth Fire Chief Jake Bettencourt said the person who called 911 only noticed once the flames were huge.

“There was no smoke. She called when she saw fire,” Bettencourt said. “When you have that type of fluctuation [in populatioin], the odds of somebody seeing something takes a lot longer for us to be notified.”

Once crews were notified, Bettencourt said the fire had several more minutes to spread because of the home’s distance from the nearest station.

“That’s one of our furthest traveled response,” Bettencourt said of the 10- to 12-minute response time.

The wind proved to be a third challenge – which resulted in the fire spreading to two nearby homes, Bettencourt said.

“That fire was rolling across the street, which prevented us to put any fire trucks in the front of that scene, like we normally would have done, to allow some attack hand lines to take place,” he said. “That wind, like I said, was really wreaking some havoc with the house on the right, which has heavy charring on the exterior, and the one across the street.”

Once they realized the first house was a total loss, crews turned their attention to the other two homes.

“The two buildings that were in more jeopardy than, unfortunately, the fire dwelling which was already pretty much a ball of fire,” Bettencourt said. “Our real intent was to stop any additional spread to those two homes.”

Crews worked for an hour to get the flames under control. Overhaul of the scene continued Friday morning with the Naushon Avenue still blocked off to traffic.

Bettencourt said no one was inside any of the homes since they are seasonal occupants.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office.

While the investigation is ongoing, he said the fire does not appear to be suspicious at this time.

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