EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 13, 2014

Woman, dogs rescued from Plaistow fire

Fire caused by hot ashes

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — PLAISTOW — Firefighters rescued a woman and two dogs trapped inside a smoke-filled home on Glendale Circle yesterday.

The fire broke out at 5 Glendale Circle about 9 a.m. when hot ashes removed from the woodstove ignited firewood, fire Chief John McArdle said. The flames rapidly spread from the first floor to the second, he said.

The home was quickly filled with thick smoke, trapping a 26-year-old woman in an upstairs room, he said.

The woman, who was alone in the house, managed to call 911 for help and waited for firefighters to arrive, McArdle said.

“She couldn’t get out because of all of the smoke,” he said. “When we got there, she had her head out the window and was trying to breathe.”

Firefighters rushed into the burning home and carried the woman out, McArdle said. They rescued two dogs as well, he said.

Robert Agneti, who lives across the street, was eating a bowl of cereal when he happened to look outside and see the fire.

“I saw the smoke coming out the front door,” he said.

Firefighters knocked the fire down in minutes, but remained at the home for more an hour, McArdle said. Eleven Plaistow firefighters, a tanker truck and two engines responded. Police were called in for traffic control.

It wasn’t the first fire Agneti has witnessed. He was a Plaistow call firefighter for 15 years.

The woman, whose name was not released, was brought to his home to catch her breath. She did not require medical attention, McArdle said.

Agneti said she recuperated at his home for a while before returning to her own house.

“She was coughing a lot, but she’s OK,” Agneti said.

No one answered the front door at the house late yesterday morning. All the windows were left open because of the smoke.

McArdle praised the woman for her quick thinking — calling for help and making sure the door was closed to prevent the flames and smoke from spreading.

If she had not been home, the house would have likely been destroyed, he said.

“If someone wasn’t there, we would be telling a different story,” McArdle said.

He said people need to take greater precautions when disposing hot ashes. Although the ashes were left in a metal bucket, the bucket should have been taken outside to prevent a fire from breaking out, he said.

This was the second serious fire caused by ashes in town since November, McArdle said. Ashes placed in a plastic bucket ignited a woodpile and heavily damaged a home on Old County Road, he said. The family escaped without injury.

Town assessment records show the Glendale Circle home is owned by Kyle Sawyer and is assessed at $170,100.