February 2021 was the slow month for Brookfield firefighters, if such a thing can be imagined for a department that typically runs four to seven calls a day, but February 2022 produced no letup.
“This month has seemed busier than last year’s February, which was our slow month last year,” said Fire Chief David Masirovits. “Our run volume has definitely increased this year from last year.”
Masirovitz reported March 7 that the department answered 163 calls in February, up from 107 in February 2021 and 133 in February 2020.
There is no rhyme or reason as to why this February was so busy, but the department had some unusual calls, including three calls related to cooking, a gas well fire, a water rescue and a chlorine vapor cloud call.
“We’ve had a lot of cooking fires,” Masirovits said. “I plan to do a campaign here real shortly on cooking fires, try and hit some of the apartment complexes and the senior citizen centers.”
An unattended air fryer Feb. 9 spawned a fire in an apartment at the 12-unit complex on Nellie Street in Masury, firefighters said. While fire was contained to the one apartment, the rest of the building filled with smoke, rendering the building unlivable. American Red Cross helped the 10 families that lived in the building find emergency shelter. A call to building owner Cocca Development to check on the extent of the damage and plans for the building was not returned.
Unattended cooking also sparked a fire that destroyed a mobile home Feb. 19 on Boyd Street in Masury, Masirovits said. The lone occupant suffered second-degree burns to the head while trying to get out, and was taken to a hospital, firefighters said.
The third cooking-related incident occurred Feb. 18 at the Stratford House apartment building on Brookwood Drive. A resident was cleaning the oven when it caught fire, Masirovits said. “It was a normal cleaning process, but sometimes built-up, caked-on residue tends to flame up during that process. I think that is what happened. It produced a little bit of extra smoke.” Damage was limited to the oven, he said.
Firefighters also responded to:
- A gas well fire Feb. 10 on Yankee Run Road. “That regulator on that gas well has a heater in it,” Masirovits said. “What we expect is that the freezing temperatures, the ice, had probably cracked the pipe, caused a minor leak, the heater got a hold of that and ignited it. We had flames 20 feet in the air.” The fire was contained to the pipe, and was extinguished with carbon dioxide, he said. The gas well company put a new valve on the well.
- A water rescue Feb. 17 at the Interstate 80 off-ramp at Route 62 in Hubbard Township. A dump truck slid into a ditch and into water that was as deep as 20 feet during a miserable time when rain combined with snow melt, Masirovits said. Eagle Joint Fire Department, Hubbard, does not have a boat, and called Brookfield, which does. The department ended up using a john boat brought to the scene by a friend of the truck driver to get to the driver and bring him to solid ground. “Sleet was pelting us in the face,” the chief said. “We got him to shore. He was soaked and we were soaked and he was attended to in the ambulance just to make sure he didn’t have frostbite or hypothermia or anything. He ultimately refused treatment.” Prior to the call, Brookfield has assisted Hubbard firefighters at a garage fire in Coalburg.
- The chlorine call came in Feb. 19 when a resident of Syme Street in Masury reported drain cleaner had been mixed with bleach to try and unclog a basement drain. “It formed a cloud,” Masirovits said. “They immediately recognized it as an emergency and gathered everyone, opened a few windows on their way out and left.” Brookfield firefighters do not have the proper apparel to deal with chlorine, which can be absorbed through the skin, and called in the Trumbull County Hazmat Team, which was short-staffed and called the Mahoning County Hazmat Team. Two responders wearing special suits and breathing apparatus entered the home, found that the cloud has dissipated, and applied sodium bicarbonate to the drain to neutralize whatever material remained, the chief said. The department ventilated the house, “Then, we went in with our meters afterward to check for any residual gases,” he said. The residents were able to reenter.
- Brookfield sent a tanker truck Feb. 16 to Mecca to help provide water to those fighting the blaze at Chrissy’s Lake Tavern, which was destroyed.
- A fire call Feb. 11 on David Lane turned out to be a burned up furnace motor, but the investigation led to the discovery of neighborhood-wide electrical problems, such as power surges and flickering lights, Masirovits said. The chief said Ohio Edison was called to investigate, but he had not received any follow up as to whether anything was found. Ohio Edison did not respond to a request for comment.
On top of these calls, the department still answered medical calls, which Masirovits said have been ”Continuous. They’re on number four today (Feb. 22), and it’s only 11 o’clock.”