By Bill Cantwell
---- — HAVERHILL — Fire ripped through a building on South Main Street near the Bradford Fire Station early this morning, and several people were fortunate to escape the blaze.
Jason Madigan, 24, of Laurel Avenue said friends had just dropped him off at home shortly after 1:30 a.m. when he heard popping noises coming from somewhere nearby.
He realized the noises were caused by flames in a building several doors away. He said he flagged down a passing police cruiser, and he and an officer ran to the front door of the building.
“One of the girls had gotten out the back and said there was someone still inside,’’ Madigan said.
Madigan said the female officer told him to kick in the door. When he did, he went inside the smoky building and a woman who appeared to be in her mid-20s ran down a set of stairs and out of the building, he said.
She was the last of four young women to escape the burning building, Madigan said.
“They all got out,’’ he said. “I’m glad I ran up here. I’ve got asthma and I got some smoke inhalation, but I’ll be OK. I’m just happy everyone got out.’’
The fire was at 471 S. Main St., across the street from the fire station.
The Fire Department called in mutual aid from other communities. That means firefighters from other cities and towns covered Haverhill’s fire stations while Haverhill firefighters worked at the scene of the blaze.
Six Fire Department vehicles, including the ladder truck, were at the scene. At 2:30 a.m., it appeared the fire was under control, although smoke was still coming from the building.
The building is a two-and-a-half story house.
No information about the cause of the blaze or extent of the damage was available from fire officials, but Madigan said he heard talk at the scene talk about a dryer possibly being the cause.