Hartsdale Fire Department

Boiler Fire discovered from Automatic Fire Alarm
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By Firefighter Brian Townsend
November 7, 2023

Yesterday morning just before 3 a.m., Hartsdale Fire was notified of an automatic fire alarm at Maria Regina High School. Hartsdale Units responded and arrived on location in 3 minutes. Firefighters investigated a smoke detector activation on the main floor. While investigating, firefighters smelled an odor of burning and encountered a light smoke condition in the kitchen area. Utilizing their extensive knowledge of the response area, firefighters quickly recognized they were above the boiler room. Firefighters dropped down to the basement level and encountered a thick smoke condition in the boiler room. Engine 170 found a large commercial boiler that was malfunctioning with flames coming out of multiple openings and the unit glowing cherry red. Command transmitted a 10-75 working fire.

Firefighters recognized the extreme danger of spraying water on the overheated, highly pressurized vessel. Instead, firefighters shut off the fuel to the boiler and utilized numerous dry chemical fire extinguishers to control the flames. A charged hose line was in place as a precautionary measure, but introducing cold water onto the boiler could have caused a catastrophic event. After extinguishment, the area around the unit was overhauled and multiple fans were used for ventilation. There were no injuries and damage was kept minimal. The building was turned over to school representatives for repair.

Hartsdale Fire was assisted by mutual aid units from Fairview, Greenville, Scarsdale, and White Plains Fire, along with Greenburgh Police EMS and Con Ed. Eastchester and Elmsford firefighters filled in at Hartsdale Fire Headquarters during the incident.

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