Gloucester firefighters were forced onto boats to fight an intense blaze at a home facing the Annisquam River Saturday that killed two dogs and injured a firefighter, officials said.
The firefighter was treated and released from the hospital, the Gloucester Fire Department said in a statement Saturday evening.
The family who owns the house at 498 Washington St. was not at home when the fires were reported at about 10:30 a.m.
Boaters on the Annisquam River spotted the fire and a 911 call was received by the fire department, the department said.
Heavy smoke was visible and the single-alarm fire was “well advanced” when firefighters arrived, the statement read. Neighbors informed them that the family was not home.
“This fire was well advanced by the time firefighters arrived, and the terrain made the response more difficult, but all crews on scene did a tremendous job in containing and ultimately extinguishing the fire, along with the crucial assistance from the Gloucester Police Safe Boat,” Gloucester Fire Chief Eric Smith said in the statement. “We also commend the boaters for calling in the fire when they witnessed it from the water.”
At one point, firefighters were “driven back by the intense heat” and crews were forced to fight the fire from the outside the property, Smith said.
Gloucester police and the harbormaster brought firefighters onto boats, the department said, allowing them to direct water onto the single-family home from the river.
Rockport and Essex firefighters assisted on-scene.
Firefighters said the fire was knocked down about, at 11:30 a.m., but flare ups continued due to limited access to the property.
No civilians were injured as a result of the fire, but firefighters said the family’s pets, who are believed to be two dogs, are presumed victims.
The house has been declared unsafe due to the extensive fire damage, the department said, and the house’s occupants denied housing assistance.
The fire remains under investigation by the Gloucester Fire Department and the state fire marshal’s office,