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Staff photo by Don Himsel

Patricia Lennon was rescued by Hudson firefighters from a smoky fire early Friday morning at her home at 39 Westchester Court in Hudson. Investigators are looking at a kitchen refrigerator as possibly being at the center of the blaze.
Saturday, February 11, 2012

Quick response by Hudson firefighters saves woman

HUDSON – Crews entered a burning elderly housing unit Friday morning and encountered “a bank of smoke,” firefighter Glen Bradish said.

“You couldn’t see right in front of you,” Bradish said.

But the four firefighters inside – Bradish, Dean Sulin, Dennis Haerinck and Capt. Dave Morin – could hear someone banging in a back room.

The men knew the woman who lived in the elderly housing unit at 39 Westchester Court was still inside.

The trick was finding her.

Fire dispatcher Katherine Saunders, in her first week working solo, notified crews arriving at the scene that smoke and fire had forced the resident who called 911 into a bathroom near the rear of the wood-frame structure.

Scouring the smoke-filled home, the men located Patricia Lennon in a bathroom off the main bedroom suite.

They found Lennon in the shower, where she had gone to protect herself from the flames and smoke.

Bradish and Sulin carried Lennon through the flames and smoke that filled the one-story home and brought her to safety.

Lennon was transported to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua, where she was treated for smoke inhalation.

Lennon was doing well, Morin said Friday afternoon.

“The resident was awakened by her smoke detector,” Fire Chief Shawn Murray said. “That definitely contributed to her surviving the fire.”

The other thing that saved her was the quick work of firefighters, Murray and Morin said.

“The work these guys did this morning was outstanding,” Morin said of the crew. “Their response and their training made all the difference.

The victim called 911 at about 6:30 a.m. to report an appliance fire at her home, Murray said. The area is elderly housing off Derry Lane.

When firefighters arrived, flames and smoke were showing, Murray said.

Murray praised firefighters for extinguishing the blaze quickly.

The home, however, suffered extensive damage. The bulk of the fire damage was confined to the kitchen, with heat and smoke damage throughout the main floor and some water damage in the basement, fire officials said.

The home is uninhabitable, and has been turned over to Lennon’s son, fire officials said.

There was a significant charred area in the kitchen, and officials suspect the fire started at or near the refrigerator.

The cause appears to be accidental, fire officials said.

Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or pmeighan@nashuatelegraph.com.