Wayne Alarm: Be safe in your apartment



Apartment fire are much more common than we all might like to think, which is a little frightening to think about. Whether your residence is a single-family home or an apartment, it’s important to take the calm and proper steps that can save your life. The majority of fire are results of kitchen/cooking, heating equipments such as space heaters, and even arson which includes children at times playing with fire.

So you might ask yourself: Well, I live in an apartment. What can I do if I’m ever in this situation?

Performing a fire inspection and ensuring that everything is up-to-code can make a big difference. Here are some tips to ensure you are prepared and safe in case of any fire emergency:

Make sure all exit and stairwell doors are marked, not locked or blocked by security bars.
It’s very important to know the locations of all exit stairs from your floor level, in case you need to get out in an emergency.
If there are not a number of adequate working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, contact your landlord.
If ever stuck inside your apartment and you can’t find any exit, try to stuff wet towels or sheets around the door and vents. This helps to keep the smoke out.
Here are some ways to ensure that you stay safe on a daily basis throughout your apartment:

Don’t leave cooking food unattended
Always ensure that your stove or oven is off if you’re not in the room or leaving your apartment. It’s also very, very important to never use your oven as a source to heat your home.
Make sure there’s a three feet distance with household combustibles from heating equipments: space heaters, fireplace, or wood stoves. In addition turn portable heaters off when leaving a room or going to bed.
Replace any worn electrical cords. Use power strips if additional outlets are needed.
If using an electric space heater, use a heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or larger. Otherwise, avoid using one at all cost.
Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
Unless specified, don’t use electric space heaters in damp, wet areas.
It’s very important to always be aware of using the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.

In case you ever do find yourself in a fire:

Always check doors before opening them. If the door feels cool, open it slowly and stay low to the ground and leave the building as soon as possible. If the door is warm, use wet towels or beddings to seal the door and vets. Proceed to a window, and if there is no smoke outside, signal for help. If you are able to, call 9-1-1 and make them aware that you are trapped in the building.

Don’t ever use an elevator during a fire. Always use the stairs!

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Gruesome details emerge in double killing

Michael Hebb, left, and Wes Doughty are arraigned separately in Salem Superior Court.


SALEM — It’s been more than three months since the double murder of an engaged couple at a Farm Avenue home in Peabody in February, but more gruesome details emerged during arraignments for the accused killer and his alleged accomplice on Monday.

Wes Doughty, 39, and Michael Hebb, 45, were arraigned separately in Salem Superior Court in connection with the murders of Mark Greenlaw, 37, and his fiancee, Jennifer O’Connor, 40, at 19 Farm Ave.

Doughty was arraigned on two counts of murder and one count each of rape, attempted arson, carjacking, kidnapping, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Doughty is accused of raping O’Connor, trying to set the house on fire, and accused of the armed carjacking of a 64-year-old grandfather, Kenneth Metz, in Middleton days later while on the run. He was captured in South Carolina, a week later.

Hebb, was arraigned on two counts of accessory after the fact and one count of attempted arson. Murder charges he was arraigned on Feb. 21 in Peabody District Court were dismissed after an Essex County grand jury handed up indictments earlier this month for both men.

Both men pleaded not guilty to their respective charges.

New details emerged during Hebb’s appearance.

Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall said Hebb was living at the house with his nominal uncle, David Moise Sr., who is physically disabled, his girlfriend and a number of other people.

MacDougall said the home, which has since been condemned, operated a crack cocaine dealing business, and Hebb was one of the principals involved in the drug’s distribution.

In the days leading up to the homicides, MacDougall said it appeared that Greenlaw had asked if he and O’Connor could come stay at the home. She said Greenlaw’s sister was being asked to leave the home or was leaving of her own volition. She said there was some suggestion that Greenlaw was moving into Hebb’s role in the crack cocaine business in that same time period.

Hebb and Doughty allegedly had multiple conversations about Greenlaw’s incursions into the home, and that Hebb had made unsubstantiated allegations that Greenlaw was abusing Moise in some way, MacDougall said. She said Moise was the main head of the house, and used to be the owner, but had sold it to a neighbor and was leasing it long-term.

MacDougall said the evidence shows that Hebb told Doughty Greenlaw and perhaps his sister had been abusing, possibly poisoning, possibly drugging Moise. She said there is no real evidence of any of that. She said the Commonwealth would allege that he was playing on Doughty’s deep loyalty and devotion for Moise, essentially revving him up.

Even based on his own statement, Hebb at a minimum acquiesced to Doughty’s plan to murder Greenlaw, MacDougall said. After his arrest, Hebb had given a lengthy recorded statement to authorities about his involvement in the murders, according to his defense attorney, Ray Buso.

Shortly after Greenlaw’s and O’Connor arrival at the house, sometime likely late Friday, Feb. 17, Doughty shot Greenlaw once in the face with a shotgun, MacDougall said. She said Hebb appeared to have been upstairs in the home at the time, but almost immediately came downstairs, and at that point, at a minimum, witnessed Doughty repeatedly stab, slit the throat and rape O’Connor.

Hebb then went upstairs and reported to a witness “that Doughty was an idiot” because he was leaving his DNA in O’Connor, MacDougall said.

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MacDougall said it was by Hebb’s own admission that he then participated in cleaning up the house, as there was a great deal of blood in numerous areas, and ultimately wrapping up the two bodies.

She said the bodies were in bags and wrapped in cellophane. In addition, she said a carpet was taken out from the floor that was nailed down and split in two so that each of them could be wrapped in the carpet and further in cellophane.

MacDougall said the bodies were taken down to the basement, along with the mattress O’Connor was killed on, and were stacked there with a number of items, including several firearms and knives.

She said cans of kerosene and a propane torch were found in the vicinity of the bodies. MacDougall said it is the Commonwealth’s belief, based in part on statements by Hebb, that the men’s ultimate intention was to burn the bodies.

MacDougall said Hebb’s girlfriend was also in the home, and ultimately became concerned for her safety based on statements  made to her, and she believed she may have been next to be killed. She fled the night of Feb. 18, and dove into the car window of a Good Samaritan who drove her to the Danvers State Police barracks, MacDougall said.

On the way, Hebb’s girlfriend made calls to Greenlaw’s family members, who started showing up at the Peabody Police Department. A marked police cruiser was sent to 19 Farm Ave., which MacDougall said the two defendants became aware of, causing them to not complete their efforts to burn the bodies and run out the side door through a swamp area.

MacDougall said Hebb contacted a friend to pick them up, telling him their car had broken down on the side of the 95 on ramp in Peabody, where authorities believe Doughty stashed the murder weapons, which were ultimately recovered there. She said Hebb claimed in his statement that he did everything under duress to try to protect himself, his girlfriend and Moise, because he claims that essentially Doughty had a gun to him.

Buso said the vast majority of the Commonwealth’s statement was the subject of Hebb’s recorded statement. He said Hebb was unaware the first murder was going to take place, and did not observe it.

“In this recorded statement, he describes what the government now calls duress,” Buso said. “His belief was that if he did not cooperate with the other defendant, his uncle, for lack of a better word, and the girlfriend, were going to be killed … His version of the events indicated that he did what he needed to do to keep those two people from being killed also.”

Hebb was eventually taken into custody at his former girlfriend’s apartment in Peabody, after Doughty left, MacDougall said.

Doughty and Hebb will continue to be held without bail and return to court July 11 for a pretrial conference. Doughty’s attorney, John Apruzzese, did not argue for bail. Buso requested $10,000 cash bail for Hebb. MacDougall requested $150,000 bail.

Buso argued that before the murders, Hebb had a short record, with mostly motor vehicle violations. He said that Hebb could stay with his mother, who lives in Peabody.

Superior Court Judge Thomas Drechsler said he was inclined to set bail at $60,000 with conditions.

Should his family intend to post that $60,000 bail, Hebb would need to have a hearing before a judge, with his mother or whomever he would be staying with, to ensure they could properly oversee him during his release. He would be on GPS monitoring and under house arrest. For now, he’s being held until his next date, according to Carrie Kimball Monahan, spokeswoman for the Essex County District Attorney’s office.

Gayla Cawley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.


Doughty indicted on murder, rape charges

Murder suspect Wes Doughty is pictured in a booking photograph.


PEABODY An Essex County grand jury handed up indictments Tuesday in connection with the killing of a Peabody couple.

Mark Greenlaw, 37, died after he was shot in the head. His fiancee, Jennifer O’Connor, 40, was killed after she was stabbed in her neck and torso. The killings happened on or about Feb. 17 at 19 Farm Ave.

Wes Doughty, 39, was indicted for two counts of murder and one count each of rape, attempted arson, carjacking, kidnapping and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

In addition to the killings, Doughty is accused of raping O’Connor, taking steps to set the Farm Avenue house on fire, and with the armed carjacking of Kenneth Metz, 64, in Middleton days later while on the run.

Carjack victim: Murder suspect confessed

Metz told reporters that Doughty confessed to the double homicide during the carjacking, saying he killed the couple because they had given heroin to his godfather. Authorities have not released a motive.

Doughty was apprehended Feb. 24 in South Carolina after a week on the run. He was arrested after being questioned for panhandling. Investigators who approached Doughty learned he was wanted for a double homicide in Peabody and carjacking in Boston.

His co-defendant, Michael Hebb, 45, was indicted for two counts of accessory after the fact and one count of attempted arson. The murder charges he was arraigned on Feb. 21 in Peabody District Court will be dismissed.

Both men will be arraigned in Salem District Court at a later date.

Gayla Cawley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley

Investigators: Fire fatality had stabbed himself

A firefighter is pictured at the scene of a Jan. 29 fatal fire on Beach Road in Lynn.


LYNN — Investigators have determined that the early morning Jan. 29 fatal fire on Beach Road was intentionally set by the victim, Alexander Joshua, according to the Essex County District Attorney’s office.

“The fire was intentionally set, we believe by the deceased,” said Carrie Kimball Monahan, spokeswoman for the Essex County District Attorney’s office. “He had some self-inflicted injuries in addition to having set the home on fire. I don’t know if the injuries killed him or the fire. But we know that Mr. Joshua took his own life.”

Monahan said Joshua, 41, had self-inflicted stab wounds.

Joshua lived in the third floor apartment of the 20-unit building at 11 Beach Road. The three-alarm fire started in the apartment’s living room.

The blaze displaced 26 people. There were no other injuries.

Lynn fire victim identified

Gayla Cawley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley

Breakup may have sparked Newhall fire

The Lynn Fire Department, Lynn Police and EMS respond Thursday night to a scene at 16 Newhall St.


LYNN — A 24-year-old woman is being held without bail after police say she set fire to an apartment she shared following a domestic dispute.

Raynotte Bradford, a tenant at 16 Newall St., is charged with arson of a dwelling house. She was arraigned Friday in Lynn District Court and pleaded not guilty.

Police say they were called to the six-story building at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday on a report that Bradford had doused her clothing with gasoline and threatened to light herself on fire.

When police arrived, they learned that Clint Ambrosie, 33, had tried to break up with Bradford and wanted her out of the apartment they shared, according to a police report.

The report said that Ambrosie had decided to leave the apartment for the night to avoid an argument, allowing Bradford to stay.

Officers knocked on the apartment door and a female voice responded, “I have a knife. So open the door so I can stab you and you will (shoot) me,” the report said.

An officer reached the apartment using the building’s fire escape to access an unsecured window, and noticed that the apartment door was on fire. At that point, officers outside the apartment door forced it open, the report said.

Upon entering the apartment, officers reportedly found Bradford in the bedroom holding a large knife that was silhouetted by more fire in the background.

Police ordered Bradford to drop the knife and she did so on the third request. She was pulled from the bedroom, handcuffed and led out of the building.

Officers attempted to extinguish the fire in the apartment, but were unsuccessful due to the large volume of smoke. At that point, the Lynn Fire Department took over to extinguish the flames.

Several officers were treated at Union Hospital for smoke inhalation and residents were evacuated from the building.

Lynn District Fire Chief Stephen Archer said the small blaze was put out by firefighters just after midnight.

“There was quite a bit of smoke on the upper floors; our guys did a great job putting this fire out,” he said. “Damage is confined to the apartment the unit below.”

Fire crews on scene at 16 Newhall St.

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

Swampscott is looking for help

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SWAMPSCOTTState Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, Swampscott Police Chief Ronald Madigan and Fire Chief Kevin Breen are asking for the public’s help with a series of intentionally set fires over the past month near the Swampscott Housing Authority complex on Doherty Circle.

On Friday night, there was an arson fire in a newspaper distribution box attached to 205 Burrill St., in a building with first floor commercial space with apartments above.

On Oct. 1, during the early morning hours, there was a motor vehicle fire at 59 Doherty Circle that was determined to be arson.

Over the past month, there have been multiple fires in plastic recycling bins in the same neighborhood.

Ostroskey is urging anyone with information about the fires to call the confidential Arson Hotline at 1-800-682-9229.

“These may seem like small fires, but all fires start small and every fire was the potential to cause serious harm,” he said in a statement.