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Quick response saves Bolton house from attic fire

Multiple towns responded to a house fire on Nourse Road in Bolton Saturday, Aug. 24
(Photo courtesy Bolton Fire Department)

By Lynda King

A Saturday evening house fire on Nourse Road drew emergency responders from seven communities, in addition to Bolton emergency personnel, whose quick response kept the fire from spreading, while police were able to evacuate two children and the family dog.

Bolton police and firefighters were first on the scene, quickly followed by crews from surrounding towns.

Fire Chief Jeff Legendre told the Independent that the call from Nashoba Valley dispatch went out at 8:42 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24. He said he arrived at 8:58 p.m., and Bolton firefighters—“call” firefighters who have to get to the station and gear up before heading out—were on scene in 8 minutes.

Legendre said the fire, which is believed to have been started by a short in a whole-house fan in the attic, was “a very quick knockdown.” He said the fire was under control by 9:42 p.m., and the scene was cleared by 11:27 p.m., with firefighters staying behind to monitor the situation and make sure everything was completely out.

“I really credit the dedicated, well-trained members of this call department,” he said. He also pointed to the working relationships between fire, police and EMS departments. “We have a great collaboration with them.”

Legendre explained that the mutual aid from surrounding towns supplied resources Bolton doesn’t have—such as water. He said tankers came from Boxborough, Stow, and Harvard, while other towns provided ladder trucks. He noted that the fire was extinguished with less than 300 gallons of water. Fortunately, he said, the fire was knocked down without anyone having to break windows or doors.

Legendre credited the bravery of police in evacuating the residents.

Police Chief Warren Nelson said that Bolton police officers Dan Keller and Jeff White were first on the scene and found an active fire in progress. He said that the woman who greeted them did not speak English well, but the officers were able to discern that her two grandchildren and a dog were also in the house, the children asleep on the second floor. Finding flames coming from the attic into the stairwell, the officers used fire extinguishers to knock down the flames and make their way to the children’s bedrooms, then quickly picked up the children from their beds and carried them safely outside before returning to rescue the family’s dog.

Nelson said, “Their quick thinking and actions prevented any loss of life or serious injuries. I am very proud to have such dedicated and professional officers working for the town of Bolton who risk their own safety to help others in need. In addition, I would like to commend the Bolton Fire, EMS, and surrounding towns who responded. The actions of all involved ensured the best possible outcome for the homeowners.” 

Legendre said that National Grid and the town’s electrical inspector will have to give the all-clear for power to be restored to the home before the residents can begin the reclamation process.

Nelson said that fortunately, there was not a lot of damage to the house. “It could have been much worse,” he said.