Porch fire, boiler keep firefighters hopping

Staff Report

A porch fire was doused just after midnight Monday before it could spread to the inside of a Tenney Avenue home.

A wrap-around porch was destroyed after coals from a grill were whipped to flames by strong winds, according to Amherst fire chief Jim Wilhelm.

Residents on the corner of Tenney and Hall Avenue were in bed sleeping. Wilhelm said a Taylor Street woman luckily “was getting a glass of water, looked out a window, and saw the house on fire. She dialed 911 real quick.”

The flames burned the porch overhang but didn’t get into the roof or breach the home. There was no smoke or heat infiltration to the house.

The chief estimated damages at about $7,500

The call was the second to cause excitement recently for Amherst firefighters.

Late last week, they responded to a mid-morning distress call at the Nordson Corporation, where a boiler was steaming and smoking.

When it went up in flames, two engines and a tower ladder truck responded.

“When we got there, they pretty much had the fire knocked down. It ended up being the control box,” Wilhelm said.

The unit that burned runs year-round, regulating air conditioning and heating. A new unit costs around $50,000.

The fire was contained to the control box, but Wilhelm said there was concern the boiler could blow.

The side of the boiler was about 300 degrees. Firefighters cooled it with a hose.

Staff Report