Ten-year-old Kyle Grikscheit having a great time.
Cody Coulombe and Mike LaCasse are proud of their catch.
Plenty of local tournament fishing was to be had Saturday with three opportunities for a fun time in Hudson, Litchfield and Londonderry. At Hudson Fish & Game nearly everyone had caught their limit by 9:00 am., except one Hudson Selectman. The fish must have been making a statement. While it was cool it was a great day for fishing; the snack shack was buzzing with everyone enjoying breakfast.
Thursday was windy; the humidity was low and conditions were perfect for a fire to catch and take off. That’s exactly what happened in Litchfield – with a little bit of human help.
There’s a large wooded area behind 29 Mayflower. “We entered through here,” said Litchfield Fire Chief Tom Schofield. “We had to carry hoses in because we couldn’t move the apparatus off the street. It was a long haul.”
In addition to Litchfield, Hudson, Pelham, Londonderry, and Auburn Fire Departments responded with apparatus.
The Salem Fire Department sent Deputy Chief Jeff Emanuelson, who is a Fire Marshall and an Inspector. “Jeff worked on the investigation after we got the fire contained,” said Schofield.
“Hudson Fire responded mutual aid to Litchfield on Thursday for the brush fire. We sent an engine and our off-road vehicle,” said Hudson Fire Chief Shawn Murray. “Hudson crews were involved in containing one side of the fire.”
“It was tricky,” said Schofield. “First the wind blew one way and then the other. The men worked hard to keep the fire from reaching the brown, brittle swamp grass. If it had gotten in there, it would have taken off and burned a huge amount of acreage.” Schofield pointed to the fire line that ended mere inches from the brown swamp grass. “They really worked to contain it.”
Schofield said that the state had just issued a warning that read, “Elevated fire danger is likely through the weekend, and beyond as no precipitation is likely until at least mid week next week. Although grassy areas have started to turn green, wooded areas have not greened up much yet. One and 10 hour fuels will dry very rapidly over the next few days and fires will spread rapidly on steep slopes and areas exposed to the NW winds.”
He commented that when the fire fighters entered the woods that those conditions were exactly what they faced. “The swamp was at the bottom of a fairly steep hill and we knew that we’d be in trouble if we couldn’t stop the fire’s downward run. Fortunately we did.”
“Both Hudson and Litchfield crews did an excellent job of keeping the fire contained,” continued Murray. “At the time of the fire there were high winds and dry conditions which contributed to the initial fast spread of the fire. Brush fires are manpower intensive and require significant overhaul to assure that the fire did not go underground or is hidden in tree stumps.”
Murray responded to the fire, “I was assigned water supply by the Litchfield Chief and had the opportunity to work alongside with the Litchfield Firefighters. They are a dedicated group of individuals who work hard at everything they do. The firefighters do not hesitate to carry out the orders given to them by Chief Schofield. The Litchfield Fire Department has a lot of pride and honor.”
“Officer Dave Donnelly developed a suspect and approached a kid,” said Schofield, who believed that the suspect had admitted to starting the blaze.”
When the fire was finally contained, Schofield got a call from the men to have the Litchfield Police return to the scene.
“When I called Donnelly again,” said Schofield, “he was reluctant to return and said ‘I’m all set.’ I radioed that back to the men. However, Donnelly changed his mind and did return to the scene.”
The firefighters had taped off a large area with a huge amount of debris. “There were enough suspicious items that everyone on the scene felt that the police should be called again and asked to open an investigation.” Schofield said that the men found debris over an acre and it all seemed to be related.
“There were still four unburned backpacks so it couldn’t just be one child who’s been in there,” said Schofield, who finally called Police Chief Joe O’Brion. Although O’Brion did not respond, Schofield said they had a long conversation.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Raymond Peeples said that items found were “of a concern” and “needed to be investigated. Tom did the right thing to call the police.”
In addition to the four backpacks, there were a number of spray cans that had been punctured, a fishing tackle box that was filled with screws, nails, bolts and a burned propane torch plus a fire extinguisher.
“It looked like they might have been experimenting with blowing things up,” said Schofield. “They had built a fire pit of bricks that they had carried in. Apparently the suspect told Donnelly that they liked to puncture the pressurized cans and watch them spin around. There was definitely more than one child involved in this. Maybe only one set the fire, but more have been participating in the activities,” concluded Schofield.
At press time, Chief O’Brion was not available for comment on the progress of the police investigation related to the fire.
Schofield thanked the other departments that responded and said that working with them was always good. He praised Emanuelson and said that working on the investigation had been a pleasure. “He definitely knows what he is doing.”
A Do It Yourself Propane Torch found in the debris area of the brush fire.
Fire Chief Tom Schofield shows how close the fire came to the brittle, brown swamp grass.
A homemade fire pit with a burnt backpack in the middle of it.
Whip Cream verse a photo flash, Karen Knox, a town volunteer for over 20 years.
Hudson Selectmen decided to honor the volunteers who serve on town boards and committees by inviting them to an old-fashioned ice cream social at Hudson Community Center on Thursday May 3.
Dressed in aprons and wearing wide grins, selectmen dished up three flavors of ice cream and let attendees add their own toppings - watch out for the whipped cream duel – Karen Knox has a deadly aim.
It was an opportunity for each volunteer and his or her guest to chat with other Hudson volunteers, enjoy some ice cream, and celebrate the beginning of spring.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Shawn Jasper thanked everyone for coming and said that selectmen hoped to make this an annual tradition.
Selectman Ken Massey presented certificates to a number of volunteers with more than 10 years of service.
Hudson Selectmen Massey, Maddox and Robinson serve up several scoops to Trustee of the Trust Fund Russ Ober.
Howard Dilworth, Jr. and Joyce Goodwin, both members of the Budget Committee were recognized for their hard work watching town financials and reviewing budgets. Massey praised Dilworth for his knowledge of municipal law and budgetary law.
Michael O’Keefe and Harry Schibanoff both serve on the Cable Committee and put in endless hours in bringing community television into our homes.
Conservation Commission members James Battis, Michelle Champion and Linda Kipnes were recognized for helping to keep Hudson green. All three are committed to conservation issues and to preserving Hudson.
Suellen Quinlan serves on the Planning Board as well as other town committees. Her legal background makes her a welcome addition to any number of boards and committees and she generously gives of her time.
James Pacocha and J. Bradford Seabury have both served long terms on the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Seabury has been Chairman and the guiding force for that board for years.
According to Massey, two additional certificates will be given out. These will go to Catherine Valley and Joyce Cloutier.
Although participants tried to do their best, they were unable to devour the amount of ice cream that selectmen had purchased.
Billy Girginis, Krista Rothfuchs, Jillian Ramirez, Pat Fournier, Casey Hayes, Mike Barney, Andrea Noble, and Kris Bouchard
Brian Allie, Allison Fahey, Annie Stevens, and Ben Laroche
Chelsey McGinnis Kelly Giaquinto, Kristine Wilson, Kristen Litchenberg and Lauren McGrady
Mike Levesque, Amanda Teneziello, Mike Coulter, Shelley Pinsonneault, Garrett Nuttall and Liz Stewart
Brad Nelson, Shannon Fernette, Kimberlee Lasalle, and Brian McCabe
Alicia Stott, Katie Hanlon, Kathleen Foley, Sara Mayanski, Shelley Pinsonneault and Kristina Beningo
Nate Moreau and Jillian Black
Rocky Dubois and Ashley McCarthy
Emma Rallis, Sharon McCarthy, and Morgan Towle