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Model rockets spark 2-acre blaze on the North Shore

Fire officials deemed the incident "unintentional."

Photos provided by fire officials show the damage to Pye Brook Park in Topsfield caused by a roughly 2-acre fire. Topsfield Fire Department

A family setting off model rockets at Pye Brook Park in Topsfield inadvertently caused a roughly 2-acre brush fire Wednesday, fire officials said.

Topsfield’s two on-duty firefighters at the time were already on their way to a medical aid call on Boston Street near the Ipswich town line when dispatch received a 911 call shortly after 12:30 p.m. that a fire was spreading across the field. Other firefighters were called in from their homes and other jobs to assist.

“Due to the size of the fire and the rate that it was spreading, it can be anticipated on a hot summer day that [firefighters] become quickly exhausted and need frequent rotation of crews,” a release from the Topsfield Fire Department noted.

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Boxford firefighters also responded as part of a partnership with Topsfield.

Crews were able to prevent the fire from spreading to several outbuildings and dugouts, as well as the adjacent woods.

“The lack of a pressurized water system in that area of town makes it necessary to preplan alternative methods of providing water for fire extinguishment,” the department noted in the release.

This means that “for any reported fire or fire alarm in that district, Topsfield relies on Boxford’s tanker to respond and provide an initial water supply,” the department said.

Firefighters from Middleton, Hamilton, and Wenham covered the Topsfield station while crews worked to extinguish the fire.

Fire officials listed the incident as “unintentional,” noting that the rockets sparked the incident.

No one was injured, and firefighters were able to contain the fire within an hour.

“With the recent severe drought, residents and visitors of Topsfield are cautioned as to the dangerous fire conditions that exist,” the department said. “Activities like using model rocketry, smoking, and cooking/camp fires may seem benign but are immeasurably more likely to cause a fire given the dry conditions Essex County as a whole is experiencing currently.”

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