FREETOWN, Mass. (WPRI) ─ Freetown Fire Chief Gary Silvia wasn’t expecting to extinguish a massive fire by himself this past weekend, but that’s exactly what happened after he realized his crews were completely tied up with other calls.
Silvia said the call came in Saturday afternoon, and after checking the department’s emergency response phone app, he learned he was the only one available.
“These first calls came in and basically depleted our resources, and then the big one came in after everybody was already tied up,” Silvia said.
Silvia said he arrived at the North Street Home to find flames and smoke pouring from a camper parked on the property. He also noticed the fire was beginning to spread to the house.
“A lot of fire was showing,” he recalled, adding that police officers who responded to the scene helped him set up the hose line operation. “I quickly knocked down the bulk of the fire.”
While the camper is a total loss, Silvia said the home only sustained minor damage.
Silvia said he’s been with the department for nearly four decades, and it’s not the first time he’s responded to a fire alone. Back in the 80s, Silvia said he single-handedly knocked down a fire the first time he ever worked alone at one of the department’s substations.
“You always start off alone at first, but you know that help is coming,” Silvia said.
During the most recent fire, Silvia said the Berkeley and Rochester fire departments eventually responded to the scene to help while the Lakeville Fire Department provided station coverage.
Silvia is being hailed a hero for knocking the fire down before it spread further into the home. But he said he was just doing his job.
“I think if you went to any fire station in any city or town, it’s the same,” Silvia said. “They’re all great people, the work that they do is phenomenal. I’m just doing what anybody else would.”
No one was injured. Silvia credited a neighbor for moving the propane tanks away from the camper and checking the home to ensure no one was inside.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time.