By Doug Ireland
---- — SALEM — Firefighters rescued the resident cat, but fire heavily damaged an Atkinson Road home yesterday afternoon.
No one was home when the fire broke out at about 2:30 p.m. at 20 Atkinson Road, drawing two dozen firefighters from Salem and Derry, according to Deputy fire Chief Paul Parisi.
A neighbor reported the fire after seeing heavy smoke. By the time firefighters arrived four minutes later, flames were shooting from the small home, Parisi said.
“They initiated an aggressive interior attack,” he said. “There was heavy fire throughout the building.”
A cat was rescued from the blaze and resuscitated, Lt. Brian Murray said.
“The cat was unresponsive, but it seems to be OK now,” Murray said late yesterday afternoon.
Firefighters knocked down the blaze in about an hour, but remained at the home for more than two hours after it broke out to investigate the cause, Parisi said.
The home is a rental property owned by Joanne Balsamo, Parisi said.
He said the home isn’t livable. The American Red Cross was called to help the tenants, whose names were not available.
The fire sustained significant smoke, fire and water damage, Parisi said.
Firefighters from Windham and Methuen provided station coverage.