Dave St. Pierre, photo
ST. ALBANS — A handicapped man, who St. Albans Police officers rescued from a burning building today, is fighting for his life in a Burlington hospital.
Dispatchers received a call at 1:11 a.m. from Thomas Page, 72, who reported a fire had trapped him in his apartment at 203 South Main St. Firefighters, police and ambulance personnel were alerted.
Police officers arriving on the scene heard Page calling for help. They entered his apartment and carried him outside, according to a statement from St. Albans City Fire and Police Chief Gary Taylor. One officer remained with Page while the other began waking residents of the other apartments.
Police and rescue personnel made no mention of smoke alarms or sprinklers.
In addition to Page, 11 residents were evacuated, including a family with three young children. Taylor reported officers had to break windows and doors to wake sleeping residents.
Page sustained serious burns on his back and arms. He was transported to Northwestern Medical Center and then to Fletcher Allen Health Center where he was listed in critical condition as of press time late this morning.
No injuries to other persons were reported.
Capt. Matt Mulheron of the St. Albans City Fire Dept. said firefighters from St. Albans Town and Georgia were immediately called to the scene.
Mulheron said that as he arrived officers from the St. Albans Police Dept. were bringing a victim of the fire out of the door of his apartment. Page lived at apartment #4 where the fire began.
The fire had already reached the roof when firefighters arrived. The St. Albans Town ladder truck was deployed at the rear of the building for use in attacking the roof, while the city’s ladder truck was in front of the building.
“We could’ve lost this very easily,” said Mulheron of the entire apartment building located just north of the Cadillac Motel. “It was a great stop.” The fire was confined primarily to the apartment where it began.
The majority of firefighters left the scene at 4 a.m., with a small crew remaining to conduct cleanup.
Investigators arrived at 6 a.m. to begin work. The cause of the fire remained undetermined as of this late this morning.
The building is owned by David Wry and Todd Waite.
It was uncertain this morning when residents of the building would be allowed to return.