RUMFORD — A Rumford man suffered smoke inhalation Sunday evening while trying to save his pets from a fire in his home, Rumford fire Chief Robert Chase said.
Chase said that the Rumford and Mexico fire departments were simultaneously dispatched to 1257 U.S. Route 2 for a confirmed structure fire.
Upon arriving on the scene, Chase said that flames were coming from the roof of the building, and that homeowner Glenn Foley was re-entering the home to look for pets.
“Based on some previous knowledge of the building, we knew that we had a hoarder-type situation to deal with,” Chase said. “We also knew that there was an abundance of fuel in the building that could make things worse.”
Chase said that the Rumford deputy “immediately called for a second alarm,” which included Dixfield, Peru and Andover fire departments.
“When we first showed up on the scene, there was really thick smoke coming from the attic,” Chase said. “Our initial attempts to make it to the attic were unsuccessful. We were hindered from the clutter inside the house, but on our second attempt, we made it up.”
The largest part of the fire was knocked down quickly, Chase said, adding that it took his officers a long time to completely stop the fire.
“The attic was crammed with stuff, and because the fire was burning down so deep into the mess, it took us a long time to get the fire completely extinguished,” Chase said.
The building remained intact after the fire was knocked down, Chase said, though the attic space was “gutted out and is structurally compromised, due to all the smoke and fire damage.”
Chase said that Foley was taking to Rumford Hospital after discovering he had suffered smoke inhalation while re-entering his home looking for his pets, which did survive.
“The deputy chief saw a ring of soot around the homeowner’s face and mouth, which is an indicator of smoke inhalation,” Chase said. “He was evaluated by Med-Care on scene, and they decided to transport him to the hospital for evaluation.”
The cause of the fire remains undetermined, Chase said.
“We have officers on scene investigating the building, so we may have a better idea of what caused the fire later today or tomorrow,” Chase said.