Humbert Street fire — UPDATE

Police and Fire Rescue Services personnel were called to the scene of a house fire at 309 Humbert late Wednesday afternoon. No one was injured and an estimate of damages was not immediately available. David F. Rooney photo

A chimney fire at 309 Humbert Street late Wednesday afternoon almost cost the resident his home — and his cat.

“This was a great save and judging how the fire was burning, I estimate we would have minutes before the attic would have been fully involved” Fire Chief Rob Girard said the next day. “I am extremely proud of our firefighters for their quick action.”

He said an off-duty career firefighter happened to see a chimney fire and smoke billowing from the eaves of the house at 4:24 pm and called the Fire Rescue Service. Twenty-three firefighters and three engines responded to the call.

“Firefighters arrived on scene and the initial two attack teams breached the second floor ceiling to gain access to the attic, which was made difficult because the ceiling was plywood over drywall,” Girard said, ” But once in, they quickly extinguished the fire, burning around the brick chimney.”

He said the residence’s lone occupant was out when fire crews first arrived on scene and firefighters located and rescued the family cat.  Firefighters extinguished and overhauled the fire in just under an hour and a half.

The roof trusses received extensive fire and smoke damage.

Emergency Social Services were also activated for the occupant and two ESS volunteers found him shelter at a local hotel.

“I cannot stress enough how appreciative we are to have ESS volunteers available within our community to come to the aid of individuals in these types of circumstances,” Girard said.

While the cause of the fire is being investigated by Fire Inspector/Assistant Chief Roger Echlin, Girard said residents should ensure their chimneys and wood stoves are properly maintained.

“If you think you have a chimney fire or any fire for that matter, always call 911,” he said. “Chimney fires, more often than not, are the start of fully involved residential house fires.”