New Bedford Mayor Implores Residents to Take Advantage of Fire Education
Following three fires in a matter of days in New Bedford, Mayor Jon Mitchell is imploring the public to take advantage of fire education being offered by the New Bedford Fire Department.
“I would just ask everybody that when the fire department does its educational programs, just take them seriously,” Mitchell said in his weekly appearance on WBSM. “Look, I know it can sound a little paternalistic, saying ‘you shouldn’t play with matches’ and ‘you shouldn’t smoke.’”
“I would just ask everybody – you don't want to put yourself in one of those situations, or put a family member in those situations – so if there are things that you can do in light of what the fire department is putting out, in the way of warnings and suggestions, take a few minutes and follow through on that, and it can make a big difference,” he said.
Mitchell spoke about house fires that occurred on October 1 at 64 Madeira Avenue and October 3 at 108 Tremont Street, and a third fire recently on Coggeshall Street.
“The fires on Madeira and Tremont, people got saved and the fire department and EMS just did a fantastic job, a really skillful job and a courageous job in getting in there and saving people,” he said.
He commended Lt. Steven Torres especially, after Torres saved a woman in a wheelchair from the Tremont Street fire by carrying her downstairs and shielding her with his body and his protective equipment.
Mitchell said pointed out that in two of the three fires – the ones on Madeira Ave and Tremont Street – discarded smoking materials have been pinpointed as the cause.
“I don’t want to go too much into it because we don’t talk about pending investigations, but it’s kind of clear what happened,” he said. “It’s worth telling the public about it. We get a lot of fires in which people just toss out a cigarette or fall asleep with a cigarette.”
Mitchell said that the fire department is continuing to offer education regarding fires and is now trying to offer more of them in Spanish.
“We are seeing more and more that the occupants of the houses where the fires occur are primarily Spanish-speaking,” he said.
This Saturday, the New Bedford Fire Department will be holding a special event recognizing 100 years of Fire Prevention Week. It will feature an Open House at the South End Public Safety Center located at 912 Brock Avenue. It will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
There will be fire safety tips, the chance to tour a fire truck, an opportunity to meet first responders, and a car extrication demo. There will also be pizza while supplies last.
“The last half hour is going to have some demonstrations specifically geared toward autistic children, which entails not using sirens and lights that might affect them in a different way from others,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said he hopes people from all over the city come out to learn more during the Open House, because this latest spate of fires shows just how dangerous these situations can quickly become.
“These were reminders this week of two things: just how skilled and professional our folks are, and we’re very proud of that and very grateful for that,” he said. “And then secondly, that these fires can happen to anybody, they can happen in different parts of the city. It’s not just tenaments where fires occur. They can happen in single-family homes as well, so people should just be alert to it.”