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Saugus thanks those who answered the call

From left, Worshipful Master Kevin Wildman, Deputy Chief Tom D’Eon, firefighter Ron Ruszkowski, Lt. Eric Hansen, Captain Tom Nolan, and Lt. Bill Cross and District Deputy Grand Master Sergio deAssis. (Owen O'Rourke)

SAUGUS — William Sutton Masonic Lodge members honored the Saugus Fire Department Thursday night for their heroics while battling an arson blaze in December.

The two-alarm fire damaged the side of the First Congregational Church at 300 Central St., which also caused smoke damage on the second floor which houses the Masonic Lodge.

A juvenile offender later faced charges in Lynn District Court and was referred to a juvenile firesetting intervention program after it was found that the fire was intentionally set.

“It was a scary night,” past master Allan Welch said, praising the fire department for preventing further damage.

“Due to the tremendous effort and response of the Saugus Fire Department, our beautiful lodge was saved,” Worshipful Master Kevin Wildman said at the ceremony.

Five members of the crew who responded to the fire, Deputy Fire Chief Tom D’Eon, Captain Tom Nolan, Lieutenants Bill Cross and Eric Hansen, and firefighter Ron Ruszkowski, were presented with a plaque engraved with the masonic and Saugus Fire Department insignias to be kept at the fire station on Hamilton Street.

“We are obviously a part of the community and it’s nice to be recognized by another Saugus community group,” Hansen said.

Wildman also acknowledged the history of the William Sutton oil painting portrait that is displayed in the lodge, which survived an earlier fire more than 110 years ago. It survived once again thanks to the first responders.

“It’s great to be recognized,” Cross said. “It is definitely something that doesn’t need to happen, but it’s great.”

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