Nashua woman evacuated from Sunday fire recovering in Boston

NASHUA – The elderly woman who was flown to a Boston hospital with serious injuries after she was trapped in a fire in her home Sunday morning is sitting up in bed and talking with visitors, Fire Marshal Adam Pouliot said. He added that he would say her condition is “good.”

Pouliot was not able to release the woman’s name, but property records indicate the home at 93 Lock St. is owned by 85-year-old Norma Berube.

Initial reports said Berube had four pets, two dogs and two cats who died in the blaze.

However, according to Pouliot, one of the cats managed to escape, and the two dogs were brought to a local animal hospital and revived.

“Considering the amount of fire we were dealing with that day,” he said, “that’s pretty good.”

The fire, which left the home a total loss, quickly consumed the 10-room ranch house as neighbors watched in horror.

“Hoarding conditions,” according to Deputy Chief Karl Gerhard, made it difficult to rescue the woman, who firefighters quickly realized was trapped inside the burning home.

Ultimately, they were able to clear a pathway, locate Berube, and carry her out a first floor window, handing her to American Medical Response paramedics who then transferred her to St. Joseph Hospital. From there, she was flown to Massachusetts General Hospital, Gerhard said Sunday.

Pouliot said there were no working smoke detectors in the home. If there had been, he said, she likely would have been alerted to the fire sooner, “and would not have been in a position where she was trapped.”

The investigation is ongoing, and Pouliot said he is unable to release a cause for the fire, but urged people to make sure there is proper clearance from all space heaters and that they are plugged directly into the wall, not an extension cord.

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or hlaclaire@nashuatelegraph.com.