N.H. Cabbie Helps Rescue 3 From Fire


Two women and a baby escaped a fire in Pittsfield on Saturday thanks in part to a cab driver and his passenger.

Family members carried out the little they could salvage on Sunday, knowing the actions of two local men may have saved their lives.

Firefighters from 10 companies were called to fight flames fueled by a nearby propane tank tore through a house on Foss Avenue in Pittsfield.

Pittsfield Fire-71.330698728561443.3028280828843751622981563

A local cab driver, who also happens to be a Pittsfield selectman, called 911 to report the fire while a passenger in his cab jumped out to help the three people inside the home.

"I still don't say I'm a hero. I don't think either one of us are. I think we didn't do anything, any more than anybody else would have done," Selectman and taxi driver Don Chase said.

Chase was having a quiet Saturday, when Rob McAnney called for a ride to the store. From the cab, the two men noticed black smoke emanating from the home, which dates all the way back to 1839.

"When I saw the smoke, I knew it was coming from that house," said Chase, who used to live in the same house.

Chase quickly called 911 while McAnney headed for the front door.

"Eventually, (I) got into the hallway and hollered. The two poor ladies were out immediately. It was a scary situation for them," McAnney said. "(I) grabbed the baby and the three dogs immediately."

Minutes later, they said a propane tank behind the home began venting, fueling the fire through the rest of the house.

"Had it been another 10 or 15 minutes ... the outcome may have been a whole lot different," Chase said.

Officials said on Saturday that the fire worked its way into open spaces between the walls and fed on older construction materials.

"Thicker timbers, lot of horsehair lathe, and because of that fire was trapped between the beams. As we started opening up walls, the fire ignited even more," Pittsfield fire Lt. Nick Abell said.

Both women and the baby were safe, but three cats who lived in the home remained missing.

McAnney is caring for a puppy and the two other dogs he pulled out while the family tries to regroup. He said it's what other neighbors in Pittsfield would do for him.

"Pittsfield's a great town in that way. It really is true," McAnney said. "We've seen a few pretty sad situations, and the town always pulls together for that."

Family members who lived in the house are staying with relatives. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

There were no working smoke alarms inside the house, officials said.

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