PHOTO GALLERY: On Pleasant Street, flaming chunks of wood were flying through the air. David Jennings stood on the corner of Pleasant and Eastern Avenue, looking west at the Flint as it was being consumed by an inferno.
“The smoke and the flames … it blotted out the sun,” Jennings said. “Flames over 100 feet in the air.”
On May 11, 1982, Jennings was a lieutenant in the Fall River Fire Department, fighting the blaze that destroyed the Flint’s Notre Dame de Lourdes Church and most of a block of tenements. It threatened to spread further along Pleasant Street and destroy everything in its path. Jennings and his crew, and mutual aid from as far away as Boston, worked desperately to control a fire that simply would not be controlled. He heard Fire Chief Louis Shea had called in experts in explosive ordnance.
“They were going to start blowing up buildings on the south side of Pleasant Street to create a firebreak,” Jennings said.