A Pleasant Street family is counting its blessings this week, after what is being reported as an early morning gas explosion last Thursday at their home.
“We’re really lucky for everybody to be here right now,” said one of the survivors, Chari Begnor, who was home with her sister, Quiana Hobson and step-father Ken Hobson at the time of the explosion.
“The home is a total loss,” explained Fire Chief Paul Flanagan. “Considering that there were people inside the home at the time of the explosion, we’re really very lucky that this wasn’t more of a tragedy.”
According to Flanagan, the fire department first received word at 8:07 a.m. last Thursday morning of a fire at 627 Pleasant Street, and immediately received several other phone calls of explosions at the same address. When firefighters arrived, they assumed it was a gas related incident, but had to attend to the family members who escaped the explosion first.
“Upon arrival we found a one and a half story cape style home, almost fully involved, with the side walls of the home obviously blown out, debris strewn over several streets in the neighborhood, a heavy odor of gas in the air and walking wounded,” explained Chief Flanagan. “Fortunately, Action Ambulance was right behind us and we able to turn the care of the family members over to them and start to fight the fire within a few minutes.”
Flanagan said that since the home was fully involved and firefighters could smell gas, without knowing the source of the gas, the homes adjacent to 627 Pleasant Street were evacuated for precautionary reasons.
The most serious injuries were suffered by homeowner Ken Hobson who taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with first and second degree burns and later was released.
“Once the evacuation was completed, we were able to put hose teams on all sides of the house and begin to control the fire,” he said.
Eventually, firefighters from Massport, Revere and Chelsea were able to assist Winthrop with entering the house to turn the gas off in the basement. Once the gas service to the home was cut off, the fire was quickly brought under control and the neighborhood was stabilized.
“The Building Inspector did come down to the home on the day of the fire and with the fire investigator, the home has been declared a total loss and has been ordered to be taken down,” said the chief. “We have kept it up at this point, as the cause of the gas leak is still under investigation. However, once the investigation is completed and the evidence has been collected, the home will be torn down for public safety reasons.”
Chief Flanagan and Police Chief Terence Delehanty both credited the quick response of their men, as well as mutual aid assistance from neighboring towns, for helping to bring the tragedy under control quickly.
“I really do want to give credit to our on-duty crews, who were the first on scene,” said Chief Falanagan. “We’re a small department and we responded to that fire with just six men at the outset. They were able to quickly bring the fire under control and that allowed us, with the mutual aid assistance to be able to enter the home quickly and turn off the gas, which allowed us to avert a potentially larger problem.”
As for the police, Chief Delehanty noted that because of the timing of the incident, in the midst of the morning rush hour and with its proximity to the Belle Isle Bridge, detail police officers, were able to quickly respond to the scene and assist the on-duty shift officers with traffic control and public safety, giving the fire department a chance to work quickly and keeping the public clear of the danger areas.
“I would like say that were it not for the quick response of the detail officers, who were not scheduled to work for the town at that time, our officers would have faced a big challenge ion controlling the scene and maintaining an orderly traffic flow at that time of day,” noted Chief Delehanty.
Picture one –
Winthrop firefighters arrive at 627 Pleasant Street shortly after the gas explosion that shook the neighborhood and destroyed a single-family home.
Photo courtesy of Steven Boudrow
Picture two –
The side entrance vestibule of the home at 627 Pleasant Street was blown completely free of the house and both side walls of the home were blown out and separated from the force of the explosion.
Photo courtesy of Steven Boudrow