VEAZIE — Fire and heavy smoke twice repelled rescuers before they reportedly saved a town man Saturday from dying in a burning home on Chase Road.

The man, whom Veazie Fire Capt. Pete Metcalf described only as a resident in his 50s, and Veazie police Officer Matthew Parkhurst were treated for smoke inhalation at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Metcalf said.

Quickness, bravery and teamwork got the man out of the home alive, Metcalf said.

“It could easily have been a fatality if we did not have so many people on the scene as fast as we did,” Metcalf said Saturday. “We have great mutual aid resources and we were able to all work together.”

Parkhurst was released from the hospital, but at last word, the man was in EMMC’s intensive care unit. No report of his condition was available. He was unconscious when Orono Fire Capt. Joel Sides and firefighter Dennis Bean pulled him from the trailer, but was revived by Orono Fire Lt. Brad Strout and Orono firefighter Nick Chapman, Sides said.

The incident began fast, firefighters said.


Parkhurst arrived at Silver’s Trailer Park at 12:50 p.m., two minutes after Penobscot Regional Communication Center dispatchers radioed that a man called 911 to report that he was trapped in his home’s back bedroom by a fire in a bathroom.

Hearing a male voice yelling, “Help me! Help me!” Parkhurst immediately attempted a rescue, but flames spreading from the bathroom doorway stopped him at the trailer’s side door, Metcalf said.

“Already there was too much smoke in there,” Metcalf said, “and the occupant would have had to go past the fire to get out.”

With Parkhurst pleading with the man to try to crawl to safety, Metcalf arrived in a firetruck at 12:53 p.m. Lacking an airpack and the only firefighter there, Metcalf found the heat and smoke too hazardous for a rescue.

“When I crawled in through the side door, it was like looking into a black wall. The smoke was right down to the floor,” Metcalf said.

Hearing Orono firefighters radio that they were coming and knowing that this put them minutes away, Metcalf ran a hose from the truck to the trailer. Once Metcalf ran back to the truck and engaged the firetruck’s pumper, Parkhurst fired a burst of water through the side door into the bathroom, Metcalf said.


Metcalf took the line from Parkhurst and continued to attack the fire. When Orono firefighters arrived at 12:56 p.m., the flames were largely gone, but intense heat, smoke and steam remained, he said.

Having heard Metcalf’s radio transmissions, Sides and Bean knew they would be going into one of the worst sorts of fires.

Most trailers “are made of highly combustible material. They are pretty much built as a tunnel,” Sides said. “A fire within them will take up a lot of oxygen and head to the nearest open door.”

Bean and Sides found the man between the bed and back wall of a bedroom in the home, Sides said.

Metcalf and the Orono firefighters began to treat the victim after firefighters got him out of the home. Orono Fire Lt. Brad Strout, a paramedic, began giving him advanced life support, Metcalf said.

Strout, Veazie firefighter Dennis McRae and Orono firefighter Nick Chapman took the victim to EMMC in an Orono ambulance, Metcalf said. Veazie and arriving Bangor firefighters doused the last of the hot spots.

State fire marshals are investigating the cause of the fire, said Metcalf.

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