N.H. Firefighters Rescue Three People, Dog From Fire

June 7, 2013
Dover firefighters rescued a 16-year-old girl from her second-floor bedroom and two others from a roof while fighting an early morning house fire.

June 06--DOVER -- A teenage girl trapped by heavy smoke in a second-floor apartment was on the phone to a dispatcher as fire crews rushed into her burning Cushing Street apartment Thursday morning and rescued her.

Fire Chief Richard Driscoll called the firefighters' actions heroic in running a line through the burning apartment building at 31 Cushing St., and up to the second-floor bedroom where they rescued Maci Leighton, 16.

They brought Leighton back down through the "extreme heat and heavy smoke " conditions and to the outside where she was treated and then taken to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, he said. She was later airlifted to a Boston hospital for further treatment of smoke inhalation and is in fair condition, according to the fire chief.

Flames were coming out the front window and side door of the first floor when fire crews pulled up after being called about 2:15 a.m., Driscoll said. Knowing the teen was trapped, firefighters deployed an attack line and immediately entered the building, which by then was filled with smoke and extreme heat, he said.

One firefighter was later treated at the hospital for heat exhaustion, he said.

Two other people from another apartment, who made it out onto the roof of a second-story porch, also were rescued by other firefighters.

And, as the rescues were taking place,other fire crews were manning the hoses and working to extinguish the blaze.

Ninety minutes after the fire started, firefighters found the teen's dog, who suffered burns and smoke inhalation. The dog was taken to an emergency veterinary hospital in Newington for treatment. Driscoll said the dog is expected to be OK.

Driscoll said the apartment building, which has four units in it, is more than 100 years old. It has been renovated many times over the years, resulting in voids or empty spaces, where drop ceilings were installed, for flames to hide, making the fire more difficult to extinguish.

Fire investigators are trying to determine what caused the three-alarm blaze, but do not believe it is suspicious. Driscoll said it started on the first floor of the two-story apartment where the teen lived with her mother and brother. She was the only one home at the time.

He estimated damage at $150,000.


Copyright 2013 - The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester

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