EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 22, 2013

Methuen firefighters rescue family of 3 from porch roof

By Douglas Moser

---- — METHUEN — A two-alarm fire on Spruce Street early yesterday morning sent a woman and her baby to the hospital and left their family of three homeless.

Fire officials said the woman and her 13-month-old baby were taken to Holy Family Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation after they and the woman’s husband were rescued from a porch roof at 20 Spruce St. just after 1 a.m. yesterday. The man was not treated.

The fire appeared to have started about 1:16 a.m. on a side porch. Assistant Fire Chief Michael Hamel said an investigation is continuing, but improperly disposed of smoking materials may be the cause.

“It looks like it started outside on the porch,” he said. “It went up the wall and to the roof.”

The heaviest damage happened to the exterior wall around the side porch and to the roof. The interior had smoke and water damage as well, Hamel said.

Firefighters spotted the family on the roof of one of the porches, nearly hidden by the heavy smoke, Hamel and Deputy Fire Chief Dennis Fragala said.

“They had come out of a window. The crew threw up a ladder and brought them down. They were pretty much invisible in the smoke,” Hamel said.

Salem, N.H., fire assisted on scene with a rapid intervention team and Lawrence fire provided coverage in the city. Hamel said crews had the fire out in about an hour.

Emile Maroun of Methuen has owned 20 Spruce St., along with another property nearby on Chelmsford Street, for more than a year. He said he and his son went to the scene as soon as they heard about the fire.

“I couldn’t do anything. They wouldn’t let me get close,” said Maroun, who has operated George’s Bakery at 26 Spruce St. for 37 years.

He said yesterday morning he had tried to contact his tenants, but had no success. “I hope everything will be OK with the family. That’s all I want,” he said.

The American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts assisted the family with emergency funds for food and clothing, said spokeswoman Ashley Studley. The family will be staying with relatives, she said.

Night editor Rosemary Ford and photographer Carl Russo contributed to this report.


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