SALISBURY — Smoke gushed from the eaves, doors and roof into the night sky at Jupiter Electric’s warehouse last night as fire companies from throughout the region tried to stem the fire in the tall metal building at 142 Lafayette Road.
The alarm came in around 6:30 last night, drawing out every working vehicle Salisbury owned, along with mutual aid from throughout the region. Emergency vehicles lined both sides of Route 1 near Toll Road, and dozens of firefighters from Amesbury, Newburyport, Seabrook, Hampton, N.H., and others worked with Salisbury to quench flames believed to high up under the roof of the building.
The Rye, N.H., department brought an air truck to refill breathing canisters for firefighters in the smoky fire, while other units from Merrimac, Rowley and Hampton Falls, N.H., helped out with station coverage for Salisbury.
According to Salisbury fire Chief Rick Souliotis, the businesses owner told him the building contained electrical wiring, as well as cars, trucks, a forklift and perhaps propane tanks.
Three firefighters knelt before the knocked-down front opening, each aiming water from high-pressure hoses up inside the building trying to reach the fire, while three others climbed up the department’s 110-foot ladder to cut a hole in the roof to vent the flames.
“We vented but it didn’t help much,” Souliotis said. “We think the fire’s high up in the roof at the back of the building. We’re going to go and try to attack it there. We’re going to be here a long time.”
As flames continued inside, smoke continued to billow out of the building, changing from white to an acrid black, joining with the mist and fog making visibility difficult on much of the northern corridor of Route 1 in Salisbury.
By almost 7:50 p.m., firefighters went back up the ladder, but this time they wouldn’t climb onto the roof. Instead, they watched for signs the heat-compromised roof would collapse.
By 9 p.m., firefighters had sufficiently knocked down the flames to allow them to enter the building for the first time to battle hot spots.
The chief didn’t have an estimate of damage last night.
According to information online, Jupiter Electric was established in 2011, the principal owner listed as James E. Marshall.