Archived News 2012

Rehoboth Firefighters Battle Home Blaze During Snowstorm

(December 31, 2012) At the height of Saturday night's snow storm, Rehoboth firefighters were dispatched to Agricultural Avenue after receiving a report of a structure fire. First arriving firefighters found the right side of the house heavily engulfed in flames from the basement to the roof.  While the fire was quickly knocked down, damage extended to the attic.

     Crews spent over two hours overhauling the structure to expose the last hidden pockets of fire during the heavy snow fall. Rehoboth was assisted at the scene by Norton firefighters while Dighton and Swansea provided station coverage. One firefighter was taken from the scene to RI hospital as a precaution.

    Rehoboth EMS, Rescue and the State Department of Fire Services provided assistance on the scene.  The  home occupants spent the night with neighbors. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by Rehoboth Fire investigators.

Rehoboth Fire Chief Pray Reappointed

(November 5, 2012)   Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently reappointed Fire Chief Robert Pray to another term on the thirteen-member Massachusetts Fire Training Council, the sole certifying agency for all levels of fire service personnel in the Commonwealth. 

    The first municipal fire chief ever appointed to the council, Chief Pray represents on-call fire departments in the state. The Council has statutory authority to promulgate rules and regulations for the operation of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy and has the authority to approve courses and curriculum taught by the Academy.

    Congratulations Chief Pray!

Rehoboth Selectmen Get RFD Report

(August 29, 2012)   A departmental update was given to the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen by Chief Robert Pray on August 27 when he announced the upcoming retirement of Deputy Chief John Parker, Jr. at the end of August.  

    Chief Pray began with an explanation of the RFD’s on-call, volunteer firefighter force of 71 current members who respond to an average of 450 to 500 calls per year. 

    While all the volunteer firefighters have full-time jobs, they are paid for the time they respond to call on-duty, but are not paid for training which is done on weekday evenings and on weekends.  The only full-time town employee is Chief Pray.

     “Most of the training is for career firefighters,” explained Pray who was recently appointed to his second term on the Massachusetts Fire Training Council.  Some of Rehoboth’s on-call firefighters have moved on to full-time firefighter positions in other towns and cities. 

     Well-known for specializing in training, the RFD hosts a number of classes for the Fire Academy every year and several officers are certified instructors.  Pray reported that 75% of the current roster hold either Firefighter I or Firefighter II certifications.

    “These are very dedicated people,” noted Pray, “who volunteer a great deal of their personal time.”  Along with the many hours of ongoing training, firefighters work on equipment and have even rebuilt used vehicles to pass certifications. They also spend many hours operating station firefighters’ associations that host fundraisers and events throughout the year.

    Pray told selectmen the department’s capital plan is “very lean” and concentrates on maintaining existing equipment and vehicles.  Much of the department’s equipment cost the town little or no money. 

    “We have lots of used equipment,” said Pray.  “Our forestry trucks are old Army surplus and our special hazards truck was purchase used from Bristol, RI.”  The department depends on grants, donations and volunteer help from members as well as local businesses.

     Pray took the opportunity to announce that their S.A.F.E. fire educator Lt. Randy Larrivee has been asked to make a presentation on the state level about his fire safety and awareness programs he conducted at local Rehoboth schools.

     In terms of revenue production, Pray told selectmen, the department is reviewing permits and may increase the dollar amount charged for inspections and burning.  He is also looking into reimbursements from insurance companies following departmental response to accidents. 

     Selectman Michael Costello asked Pray about residents using fire pits at their homes and if they needed to pull a permit.  According to Pray, residents don’t need burning permits for a backyard fire pit, but explained the need for added caution when residents host a bonfire or clam bake on their property.

     “We just ask that people call us and let us know about a bigger fire that might create some nuisance smoke,” explained Pray.  That way, when a 911 comes in to report smoke, they already know what’s going on at that residence and do a drive by in a car or truck.  “Just so we don’t send out all the equipment when somebody calls it in.” 

    The RFD will also be re-purposing the old Veteran’s Services van. After it is equipped with a radio and painted red, the van will have a variety of uses, but will not be an official emergency vehicle.  It can be used when a number of staff need to attend training, for evacuations (it is handicapped accessible), and for transporting equipment and a number of personnel.  The Senior Center “can use it anytime they need.”

Retirement of Deputy Chief John Parker, Jr.

Promotions of Frank Baressi and Bobby Noons

In August 2012, Deputy Chief John Parker, Jr. retired from the Rehoboth Fire Department (RFD) after serving 38 years as a firefighter, lieutenant and then deputy chief. A valued member of the RFD, he was a great leader and second generation Rehoboth firefighter.  His brother and nephew are still active members of the department.  He also served as a member of the Montpellier Fire Department before living in Rehoboth with his wife and two daughters.  He will truly be missed and the entire RFD family wish him well in all his future endeavors.

     With all endings there are also opportunities and new beginnings. Congratulations to newly promoted Deputy Chief Frank Barresi and the Assistant Chief Robert (Bobby)

New Grads from Massachusetts Fire Academy

(July 13, 2012)   The Rehoboth Fire Department is proud to announce the graduation of six recruits from the Massachusetts Fire Academy in a ceremony held on June 25 in Fall River. 

    Rehoboth Fire Chief Robert Pray was a member of the stage party representing the Massachusetts Fire Training Council and RFD Chaplin John Amaral delivered the opening and benediction. 

     The graduates, Danielle Bourdeau, Chris Darling, Howard Harkins, Jesse Lee, Alex Mcleod and Jason Sidok, were awarded their national certification to the level of Firefighter I & II from State Fire Marshall Steven Coan.  Bourdeau and Sidok are second and third generation firefighters. They spent two nights a week and every other Saturday participating in both lecture and practical skills training and taking periodic exams while maintaing their full-time jobs. They attended the Academy on their own time with the department supplying turn out gear and the required texts.

     “The program is extremely intensive and requires a huge commitment to complete,” said Assistant Chief Frank Barresi.  “On behalf of the officers, firefighters and the people of Rehoboth,” he added, “we say "well done.”

Assistance in Seekonk

(May 2, 2012)  Rehoboth firefighters provided mutual aid crews on Tuesday, May 1 at a mill fire in Seekonk, MA that is being considered a possible case of arson. They assisted in relieving crews that had been fighting the mill fire in all day. Rehoboth sent a ladder truck and an engine company to the scene mid-afternoon along with other mutual aid crews from Dighton, Raynham and Swansea. The companies extinguished several hot spots in what was left of the smoldering building for approximately four hours returning to town at 8:30 PM.

Firefights Battle Blaze on Rocky Hill Road

(May 1, 2012)  Firefighters dispatched to a brush fire on Rocky Hill Road on Monday discovered a lot more than they expected. Upon arriving Chief Pray reported an out building, old equipment and a trailer load of hay were also on fire. Although access to the property was problematic, RFD were able to get apparatus close enough to fight the fire. Mutual aid was requested from Berkley, Raynham, Seekonk and Swansea for tankers and station coverage. Rehoboth EMS and the Providence Canteen provided rehab. 

     The brush fire was extinguished after twenty minutes, but it took over two hours to completely extinguish the trailer load of hay. Firefighters had to cut a large hole in the side of the box trailer to access the fire and then pull all of the burning hay out with hand tools. The last units cleared the scene after four hours. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Rehoboth Fire Dept. Assists with “Red Flag” Brush Fire

(April 10, 2012)  While the state was under a "red flag" warning for brush fires, one broke out in Seekonk near the Rehoboth line just after 1 PM on Monday.

      Firefighters received reports of smoke drifting across Rte. 195 and discovered a brush fire with a very large pile of debris burning off of Old Fall River Rd. The fire was threatening trucks parked on the property but was quickly knocked down.

    With no hydrants in the area, Seekonk requested tankers from Rehoboth to help deal with the massive pile of debris when it became apparent it would require large streams of water to extinguish the fire due to the density of the debris pile.

     Three more tankers were requested through Bristol County Control with Berkley, Lakeville and Raynham fire departments coming to the scene. Water was shuttled back and forth from a hydrant on Route 6 at Industrial Way for approximately four hours. An estimated excess of 130,000 gallons of water was trucked to the scene which was finally cleared around 6:15 PM.

Station Two Firefighters Association Looking for Past Members

  The Rehoboth Station 2 Firefighters Association is reaching out to all past Station 2 members.  Any past member who left the station in good standing is welcome to still take an active role in the Association. Members in good standing in the association attend monthly meetings, help with fundraising events, and are eligible for anything that is bought by the association for the members (hats, t-shirts etc).  Past members who are interested can contact Association President Jon Marshall at rs2ffa@gmail.com with any questions.

Annual Firemen’s Ball - March 24, 2012

    It’s that time of year when we as a town show our immense appreciation to the Rehoboth Call Firefighters for their dedication to us and to the safety of our families.

     The 41st Annual Firemen’s Ball will be held on March 24, 2012 at the Venus de Milo in Swansea.  We would be pleased to place your name or business ad in our souvenir program.  We would also be honored to have you attend the ball to show your support and have a fun-filled night with the Department and fellow residents.

     Remember that the Rehoboth Fire Department is a call department that is staff by local residents.  These residents selflessly give up many hours of their free time to serve our community.  These hours are spent performing drills, duty time, fighting fires, and performing multiple other duties beneficial to the community.

     As a group, the Call Firefighters Association helps to raise money for these brave firefighters. Some of the money raised is used to help firefighters in need, purchasing items useful to the firefighters, offering a scholarship for future firefighters, purchasing a ball ticket for each member of the Department, and many other things helpful to not only the Department, but also to the community as a whole.

     The Rehoboth Call Firefighters Association is a not-for-profit organization, and all proceeds go directly to the Association.  Be assured that all money donated is well appreciated and is put to good use for the firefighters of our town. 

Rehoboth Fire & EMS Conduct Joint Training

(February 7, 2012)    On Sunday, February 5, nearly 40 firefighters, EMT's and paramedics gathered at Rehoboth Fire Station # 2 for a cold water rescue drill. Several Junior firefighters were also on hand to observe and support. Cold water rescue and EMS lectures were given by Lt. Botelho and FF/P Syrett before the entire group headed out in the twenty degree weather for practical evolutions.

    The drill simulated a real time response to a report of two people in the water off Jameson Drive.  As units arrived, various tasks were assigned by the incident commander. Several different aspects of operational skills were trained on including operating under the incident command system, the rescue itself, care and transport of the victims, safety, accountability and rehabilitation of the rescuers.

     All participants returned to the station for a critique of the training. Everyone agreed that it was an extremely good day of training. This was the first in a series of joint drills that will be held throughout the rest of the year to ensure the best use of resources for the mitigation of different types of incidents.