, Newburyport, MA

March 6, 2013

Fire damages Amesbury home

People, pets escape from Huntington Avenue blaze

By Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — About a half dozen Huntington Avenue residents and their pets were left without a home after a two-alarm fire ripped through the top floor of a three-story house yesterday morning.

Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the blaze at 9 Huntington Ave. that began shortly before 10 a.m. yesterday and took firefighters from several different communities to extinguish. The road is located off Elm Street in a densely populated neighborhood made up of many 19th century and early 20th century homes. The home abuts the former Horace Mann Elementary School.

Amesbury fire Deputy Chief David Mather said it took firefighters about 45 minutes to knock down the fire, which was contained to the third floor of the two-family house. While no one was in the third floor at the time of the fire, a cat was rescued. Mather said it was too early to tell whether the house would be salvageable or how much it would cost to repair the damage.

After firefighters doused the third floor with water to extinguish hot spots, other firefighters began tossing charred items, including a dresser full of clothing, a burned-out box spring and a television, from the broken third-floor window.

First-floor residents Linda and Richard Plante said they were asleep at the time of the fire and were awakened by second-floor resident Kim Burns, who told them to leave right away.

“I was working last night, I was sound asleep,” Richard Plante said.

Linda Plante said she wasn’t able to grab her two cats before leaving their house.

“They wouldn’t come out with us,” said Linda Plante, who has lived there with her family for more than 25 years.

Before noon, however, another resident came up to Linda Plante and told her the two cats got out of the building safely. There was no word as of press time whether the cats had been retrieved by the Plantes.

Sleeping on the second floor, Malcolm Burns said he was also awakened by Kim Burns, his mother. Minutes after the fire, Malcolm Burns was seen wearing a T-shirt walking his dog his dog, Jenny, who was sleeping on the living room floor at the time of the fire.

Assisting Amesbury firefighters were units from Newburyport, Salisbury, Merrimac and Exeter, N.H. A mobile air refilling station from Rye, N.H., was also at the scene. Keeping an eye on the station were firefighter units from West Newbury, Seabrook and Merrimac.

“Everybody did a fantastic job,” Mather said.

According to the city’s database, 9 Huntington Ave. was built in 1880 and last assessed at $235,800. The owner of record is Eric W. Harper.