Billerica Fire Department Open House

Open House – Saturday, October 10th, 2015 (11am-2pm)

The Billerica Fire Department invites local families to Fire Headquarters located at 8 Good St for an open house. The open house will allow you to meet your local firefighters, see your town’s fire apparatus, and learn ways to keep your family safe from fire! This event is for all ages. Free pizza and drinks will be provided. The first 100 children will also receive a free Billerica Fire hat!

Be Smart… Leave Fireworks to the Pros!

Enjoy supervised professional fireworks displays

Local fire departments supervise fireworks displays all over Massachusetts. Unfortunately, children and adults continue to set off illegal fireworks that start fires and cause serious injuries to themselves and others.

Fireworks can be deadly

A 45 year old Gloucester woman died in a December 22, 2003 house fire when someone threw fireworks and ignited a Christmas tree in the living room. Three other people were injured. On May 20, 1997, a 26 year old man from Watertown was killed while he was lighting fireworks in a hallway. A 27 year old Framingham man was killed on July 4, 1993, when backyard fireworks exploded in his face. On July 4, 1992, fireworks fatally injured a 30 year old man on a Fairhaven beach.

All fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts (MGL c148 s39)

The possession and use of all fireworks by private citizens is illegal in Massachusetts. This included Class C fireworks which are sometimes falsely called “safe and sane fireworks”. Class C fireworks include sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers, spinners, cherry bombs, and more. Sparklers burn at 1800 degrees.

It is illegal to transport fireworks into Massachusetts, even if they were purchased legally elsewhere. Illegal fireworks will be confiscated on the spot.

Do not purchase fireworks through mail-order or online catalogs

The distribution of mail-order catalogs that clearly state that fireworks are illegal in some jurisdictions cannot be prohibited. State and local police regularly confiscate illegal shipments of fireworks into Massachusetts. Many unhappy consumers have lost both their money and the fireworks trying to circumvent the law.

Set a good example for children

Children imitate adults. If you use fireworks, children will copy you, not realizing how very dangerous fireworks are. Fifty-one percent of fireworks-related burn injuries reported by hospitals to the Office of the State Fire Marshal in the last 10 years (2005-2014) were to children under age 18. Twenty-two percent of the victims were children under age 10.

Fires caused by fireworks

In the past decade (2005-2014) there have been 785 major fire and explosion incidents involving illegal fireworks reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System. The incidents caused 11 civilian injuries, 4 fire service injuries, and an estimated dollar loss of $1.8 million, which is high considering most fireworks fires are outdoor brush fires.

  • On March 20, 2014, the Abington Fire Department responded to a fireworks explosion in an apartment complex. A youth’s hand was amputated and a 31 year old man was injured when consumer grade fireworks exploded in his apartment.
  • On April 12, 2014, the Norton Fire Department responded to a 1-acre brush fire started by fireworks.
  • On June 29, 2014, the New Bedford Fire Department responded to a car fire caused by fireworks being transported in the vehicle. Damages to the car were estimated at $7,500.
  • On July 5, 2014, the Peabody Fire Department responded to a fire in a mobile home that was started by fireworks. No one was home at the time of the fire and no injuries occurred. Fire damage was estimated at $10,000.
  • On August 8, 2014, the Oxford Fire Department responded to a 2-acre brush fire started by fireworks. Thirty-seven firefighters from multiple departments fought the fire for six hours.

Burns caused by fireworks

In the past decade (2005-2014), 49 people were treated at Massachusetts emergency rooms for severe burn injuries from fireworks (burns covering 5% or more of the body) according to the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System. Nearly two-thirds of the victims were children and youths under age 25. These victims are scarred for life.

  • On June 5, 2013, an 8 year old girl sat on a sparkler that ignited her dress. She received burns to 7% of her body.
  • On July 3, 2014, in Dennis, a 47 year old man received burns to 30% of his body from fireworks. A mortar-style firework exploded and struck him in the chest.
  • On July 4, 2014, a 36 year old Haverhill man received burns to his hand and abdomen when the fireworks he was holding exploded in his hand.
  • On July 5, 2014, a 31 year old Chicopee man received burns to one of his hands. He was holding multiple sparklers when the flame burned all the way down to his hand.
Source: FireFACTORS – Office of the State Fire Marshal, Massachusetts Dept of Fire Services

Cooking & Recreational Fires

A message from the Billerica Fire Prevention Bureau –

The Massachusetts State Fire Code & Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) allows outdoor recreational and cooking fires provided the following conditions are met:

  • The fire and smoke must not pose a hazard to any property.
  • The smoke must not create a nuisance or health hazard in the neighborhood.
  • A hose or fire extinguisher capable of extinguishing the fire must be within 25 feet of the fire.
  • Only ordinary firewood may be burned. NO trash, preservative-treated wood, plywood, leaves, hazardous waste, construction debris, or chemicals may be burned at any time.
  • The chiminea, outdoor fireplace, or fire pit must be on a non-combustible surface and must not be under any type of overhang, roof, or canopy. It must be at least 25 feet from any combustible wall or other combustible material.
  • A competent adult must be in attendance at all times.

Please remember that any fire should always be considered a hazard to curious children.

A permit is not required, but we do recommend you notify us of your fire by calling 978-671-0940. If the fire department is called to your home for any type of outside fire, we reserve the right to extinguish or order any fire be extinguished at the fire officer’s discretion.

Open Burning Season Reminder

Open Burning Season

Open Burning Season Starts January 15 and Ends April 30

To request a permit to burn, please call 978-671-0940 between 9:30am and 3:00pm.

A permit must be obtained from the Billerica Fire Department prior to any burning. Permits are issued daily and are only valid for the date on which they were issued. Residents must call to request a new permit each day they wish to conduct open burning. An open burning permit can be obtained by calling the Billerica Fire Department at 978-671-0940. When calling to request a permit, be prepared to provide your name, address, and a phone number at which you will be able to be reached throughout your burning. Please read the following information regarding open burning regulations, safety considerations, and other related information.

Weather conditions can change rapidly, especially in the spring, and fire officials will determine on a daily basis when it is safe to conduct open burning. If winds kick up or other atmospheric conditions change suddenly, making it unsafe to burn, permits can be rescinded.

All open burning must be conducted in accordance with the Department of Environmental Protection regulations (310 CMR DEP 7.07). Regulations state that open burning must be a minimum of 75 feet from all buildings, must be conducted between the hours of 10am and 4pm, and must take place on the land closest to the source of material to be burned. Keep a source of extinguishment ready and easily accessible during burning.

With a permit, burning the following materials is allowed:

  • Brush, cane, driftwood, and forestry debris from other than commercial or industrial land clearing operations.
  • Materials normally associated with the pursuit of agriculture such as fruit tree prunings, dead raspberry stalks, blueberry patches for pruning purposes, and infected bee hives for disease control.
  • Trees and brush resulting from agricultural land clearing.
  • Fungus infected elm wood, if no other acceptable means of disposal is available.

Burning of the following materials is prohibited statewide:

  • Brush, trees, cane and driftwood from commercial and/or industrial land clearing operations.
  • Grass, hay, leaves and stumps.
  • Tires.
  • Construction material and debris.


Open Burning Safety Tips

How to Safely Ignite the Fire

An adult should always be present during open burning and children and pets should be kept a safe distance away. Use paper and kindling to start the fire and add progressively larger pieces of wood. Parts of a leftover Christmas tree may also be used.

Never use gasoline, kerosene, or any other flammable liquid to start a fire because the risk of personal injury is high.

Burn one small pile at a time and slowly add to it. This will help keep the fire from getting out of control. Select a location away from any utility lines.

Fire Must Be Attended Until Extinguished

While the fire is burning, an adult must attend the fire until it is completely extinguished.

Have Fire Control Tools On Hand

Have fire extinguishment materials on hand including a water supply, shovels, and rakes.

The water supply could be a pressurized water fire extinguisher, a pump can or garden hose. Be sure to test your water supply before igniting the fire. You do not want to find out that the water is still shut-off at the house faucet or that the hose is cracked when you need it most.

Watch the Wind: Be Prepared to Extinguish All Open Burning

Be prepared to extinguish your fire if the winds pick up or weather changes. Use common sense and don’t wait for the fire department to contact you that it has become unsafe to burn. Sudden wind change is how most open burning gets out of control.

Don’t Delay a Call For Help

If for some reason, the fire should get out of control, call the fire department immediately.

Use the utmost caution to prevent injury to yourself or family members or any damage by fire to your home.

People conducting illegal burning, or who allow a fire to get out of control, may be held liable for costs of extinguishing the fire, fined and even imprisoned (MGL C48 S13).

April is the Cruelest Month

April is usually the worst month for brush fires. When the snow pack recedes, before new growth emerges, last year’s dead grass, leaves and wood are dangerous tinder. Winds also tend to be stronger and more unpredictable during April.

Prevent Wildfires By Burning During Wet Snowy Conditions

Prevent permit fires from becoming wildland fires by burning early in the season. Wet and snowy winter conditions hinder the rapid spread of fire on or under the ground. Weather conditions and increased fire danger may lead to many days when burning cannot be allowed to take place.

Alternatives to Open Burning

Open burning releases large amounts of carbon dioxide, other gases, and solid substances directly into the air. This can contribute to respiratory problems. Disposal of natural materials is never as good for the environment as using them again in a different form. Tree limbs, brush and other forestry debris can be chipped or composted into landscaping material.

Information Source: FireFACTORS – Office of the State Fire Marshal, Massachusetts Department of Fire Services