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Neighbor suffers cardiac arrest while helping to rescue elderly woman, 97, from house fire

By Dean Shalhoup - Senior Staff Writer | Oct 4, 2021

Photo by JEFFREY HASTINGS Smoke pours from one end of the single-story ranch at 54 Forest Park Drive Friday evening, as firefighters work inside and outside to extinguish the fire. A 97-year-old woman was rescued from the house and transported to a local hospital, where she was reported to be recovering. (Photo by JEFFREY HASTINGS)

NASHUA — One of two men who raced into an elderly neighbor’s burning home Friday evening and carried her out still sitting in her chair suddenly collapsed in the yard of a house across the street, and according to witnesses and fire officials he had gone into cardiac arrest.

But quick action by other neighbors, firefighters and AMR paramedics were apparently successful in their attempts to revive the man, who wasn’t identified but is believed to be in his 70s.

While the man’s condition wasn’t included in a press release issued by Nashua Fire Rescue Deputy Chief William Atkinson, he was reportedly admitted to a local hospital and was undergoing treatment later Friday night.

The resident, identified by acquaintances as Shirley Buder, 97, was in her home at 54 Forest Park Drive when flames broke out around 6 p.m., according to Atkinson.

The crew of Engine 2 out of the Lake Street station, under the command of Lt. Bradley Keeler, was first to arrive, and reported fire showing from the single story ranch, Atkinson said. A working fire assignment was promptly struck, which brought to the

Photo by JEFFREY HASTINGS Nashua firefighters tend to Shirley Buder, the 97-year-old woman carried from her burning home in the chair she is sitting in on the front lawn of her 54 Forest Park Drive residence Friday. Witnesses and fire officials said two men entered the home before firefighters arrived, and as they carried Buder out one of the men suffered cardiac arrest. (Photo by JEFFREY HASTINGS)

scene an additional engine and ladder truck on top of the three engines, one ladder truck and AMR ambulance initially dispatched to the fire.

Firefighters arriving at the fire scene found CPR being performed on the man, Atkinson said. A ladder truck crew went over to assist with resuscitation efforts.

“Simultaneous to the emergency medical care being delivered, fire companies stretched a 1 ¾ inch hose line to begin an aggressive interior fire attack,” Atkinson said, adding that crews succeeded in containing the fire to the room of origin.

In the meantime, a backup hose line was stretched to the lower level of the home to check for fire extension, Atkinson said. Crews also searched the house to make sure nobody else was inside.

He said a dog was located and handed over to a family member at the scene.

While that was taking place, a second ambulance was summoned to tend to Buder. A third ambulance was then called in to treat another person who had suffered smoke inhalation, Atkinson said.

He didn’t elaborate on a possible cause of the fire, or where in the house it broke out.

Atkinson did say the house was equipped with working smoke detectors. The extent of the damage isn’t known.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by members of the city Fire Marshal’s office, Atkinson said.

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.


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