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Ashby Police and Fire Departments Respond to House Fire, Rescue Resident & Six Cats

ASHBY — Police Chief Fred Alden and Fire Chief Michael Bussell report that the Ashby Police and Fire Departments responded to a house fire early Thursday morning. 

At 12:34 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, first responders were dispatched to 131 West Road for a report of a fire. Officer Dylan Denis was the first officer to arrive, and located a male resident of the home in a third-floor window with heavy smoke coming from behind him. The remaining residents had already evacuated the home.

Officer Denis made entry into the home and made his way toward the third floor in an attempt to locate the male, but was forced to abandon his attempt due to heavy smoke and flames. As he exited the home, Ashby firefighters arrived on-scene and successfully rescued the resident using a ladder. 

Officer Denis, who was at the beginning of working three shifts in a 36-hour period, then entered the home again after observing a resident go inside to attempt to locate his six cats and retrieve a baby crib. He assisted the resident in retrieving the crib and the two exited the home together before Officer Denis went to the neighboring building to evacuate residents out of an abundance of caution. 

As Ashby Firefighters worked to extinguish the flames, Officer Denis transported the male who had been on the third floor to a relative’s home, and returned to provide support to the remaining residents on-scene.

“This was an extraordinary effort by all of the first responders involved, and I’m grateful for their hard work to ensure all who were affected by this fire are safe,” Chief Bussell said.

“I am proud of Officer Denis and the members the Ashby Fire Department who answered the call this morning,” Chief Alden said.

Mutual aid was provided on-scene by the Leominster Canteen, the Townsend Police and Fire Departments, the Fitchburg, Ashburnham and Lunenburg Fire Departments, as well as the Brookline, Mason and Greenville, N.H. Fire Departments. Medstar Ambulance and Brookline Ambulance of N.H. also assisted.

All residents inside escaped to safety, and Ashby Firefighters were able to locate all six cats and get them to safety as well.

The home was determined to be uninhabitable, and the American Red Cross responded to provide support for the affected residents.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Ashby Fire Department and Office of the State Fire Marshal.