The Kingston Fire Department: Some History and a Tragedy: Part II
KINGSTON – (In the first part of this Chronicle, long-time Kingston resident, fireman, and selectman Don Clark recounted some history of the Kingston fire department – their equipment and responding systems. Here he goes on to tell of a tragic fire he witnessed.)
One cold winter morning about 4:30 a.m., the Red Phone rang. A woman’s hysterical voice said “house on fire” but it was very difficult to hear what street she said. Bob Merrick was on the other Red Phone and we agreed it must have been from Babscott Lane. Bob drove one of the fire trucks and I drove the ambulance with another attendant. We had a policy that the ambulance would always go to a fire and have two attendants if possible.
When we arrived at the scene, there wasn’t much fire but quite a lot of smoke. We opened some windows to let the smoke out and I went in the hall window of this small one-story ranch. Of course, windows shouldn’t be opened because it causes more draft, but in those days we did not have Scott Air Packs, helmets, and suits. We had to investigate because we didn’t know if any people were in there or not. The lights were on and I started looking around.
In the hall coming from the main bedroom was the father, Phillip Blake, on the floor – dead from smoke inhalation. Keeping my head low I went through the living room into another bedroom and saw another very sad sight. There was a baby boy, 2 years old, in a crib and a 4-year old boy on a small bed, both dead from the smoke. All three individuals did not have any burns. Later we learned that after waking her husband, the wife had escaped out the hall window with their 3 year old daughter. She ran to a neighbor’s house to call in the fire.