By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,295)
A fast-moving brush fire on Munjoy HIll that threatened a nearby home was put out this afternoon by fire fighters from three different ladder companies in the City of Portland. No injuries were reported, although a triple-decker house located at 104 Monument Street was threatened by the high flames in its backyard according to several sources close to the situation. The fire broke out this afternoon, on less than 1/4 acre of land, but in a densely populated area – between Monument Street and the Munjoy South apartments – in the children’s’ playground. Some believe the fire began in the playground, but the matter is under investigation.
Just before 4:00 pm this afternoon, Philip Tucci opened the back door of his home at 104 Monument Street. He was overcome with smoke and saw 5 foot flames leaping toward him a few feet away. Philip immediately called 911 and the Fire Department arrived in moments he said. There were other calls to the Fire Department as well.
Ladder 1 from Munjoy Hill first sent one truck. As the truck rounded the corner onto Monument Street, firefighters could see flames high in the air “The fire looked impressive when we got here,” said Fire Department Lt. Curtis Magnuson. That was when two other Ladders were called in according to Lt. Magnuson. That move brought in a total of sixteen firefighters. “We needed the additional manpower. The nearby home was at risk” The fast burning fire was aided by high winds and a lack of rain in the area the Lt. said.
Brothers Philip and Michael have lived at 104 Monument Street their entire lives. They agreed: “The Fire Department was great. They came so fast. That’s what our taxes are for. It’s this kind of service that makes every penny of our taxes worthwhile. Our house was spared.”
The house was built in 1854 and survived the Great Fire of 1866 which destroyed much of Munjoy Hill; about 1,800 buildings were destroyed. Dominic Tucci, father to Philip and Michael, worked at the former J. J. Nissen’s Bakery Washington Avenue, for many years. He also owned seven apartment buildings in the area. He was a prisoner of war in Italy for 7 l/2 months according to his sons.