Tom Duggan | Valley Patriot
The Lawrence Exchange Club honored seven Lawrence firefighters for heroism and bravery in connection with their actions at a 4 alarm fire on 30 Kingston Street where two young boys died and two firefighters were injured.
Deputy Fire Chief Brian Murphy explained to the audience of more than 300 police, firefighters and EMT’s from Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.
“On October 21, 2014 at 3:40am the Lawrence Fire Department responded to a 3 story, 6 apartment, wood frame structure fire. On arrival, heavy fire had control of all three floors and was shooting high above the roof line in the rear of the structure. The fire had already extended onto the cockloft, with fully one half of this attic area heavily involved in fire. Heavy black smoke was pouring out of every opening in this building. Fire crews were notified that two young boys had not made it out of the building and were trapped on the third floor.
Engine 9’s crew stretched a 1 ¾ attack line to the front hallway and started advancing the line up the stairwell to the third floor.
Ladder 4’s crew entered this hallway and began searching for the trapped boys as they made their way up the stairwell.
The rescue crew also entered the hallway and started searching.
Fire crews were met with extremely high heat conditions and heavy smoke conditions as soon as they entered the stairwell. The rescue crew attempted to locate a rear stairway through the first floor apartment. As they made their way through the first floor they were met with a wall of flames that was advancing from the rear of the building towards the front of the building.
The fire crews continued to advance as far as they could through deteriorating conditions of extreme heat and heavy smoke – even as the flames continued to spread on every floor. As fire crews exited the building their turnout gear was smoking from the high heat conditions that were encountered. During the search, Firefighter Mark Verville broke his foot and sustained a serious ankle and knee injury and Captain Kevin Loughlin received burns on his face.
This fire was very difficult.
This is the most fire I have ever witnessed on arrival at a fully occupied building in my 35 year career.
The two young boys, 4 year old Jean Carlos Merrero Santiago and 9 year old Kelvin Medina succumbed to the fire and didn’t make it out of the building alive.
Ultimately, we only have control of the effort we put forth.
The efforts put forth by the following firefighters was in the highest tradition of the Lawrence Fire Department.
Engine 9: Captain Kevin Loughlin, and Firefighters Mark Verville and Diogenes Blanco.
Ladder 4: Lt. Joseph Murhpy and Firefighter Sean Sullivan.
Rescue: Lt. James Driscol and Firefighter Juan Gonzales.