PERU — Quick thinking by Peru fire Capt. Jeff Wade saved his next-door neighbor’s Main Street house from going up in flames late Wednesday afternoon, fire officials said.

Theresa Rivers’ 2½-story, wood-frame house at 119 Main St. was unoccupied and undergoing renovations when combustible materials left atop a propane stove caught fire, Assistant Chief Timothy Holland of the Peru Fire Department said.

“It appears to be accidental,” Holland said. He was en route to his Peru home at the end of his shift as an Oxford County Sheriff’s sergeant when the fire call came in. He helped direct traffic.

“My best guess is that the stove’s pilot light caught something on fire,” Holland said. “There was no heat on inside the house, but there were paper supplies on the stove, and a pilot light will ignite them over time.”

There was no damage.

At about 4 p.m., Wade and his wife saw heavy smoke coming from the house, Holland said. Wade radioed for help from Peru, Dixfield and Rumford fire departments, and Med-Care Ambulance.

“When Jeff first saw it, he thought the whole place was going up,” due to the heavy smoke, Holland said.

The owner’s son had been inside the building doing renovations on Wednesday, but left an hour before the fire began, Peru fire Chief Bill Hussey said.

With emergency responders en route, Wade opened the door to the kitchen and discovered that the fire was only atop the stove, Holland said. Wade used a fire extinguisher to put it out.


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