Andover Fire Deputy Al DelDotto says the town is "lucky" a fire on the fourth floor of a six-floor apartment community that is home to hundreds of Andover residents didn't cause more damage than it did.
The blaze, which has been deemed accidental, started in the kitchen of an 600 Bulfinch Drive apartment and, due to a quick-thinking building manager and rapid fire response, was kept exclusively to that area of the apartment. The fire started because a stove was left on and ignited something nearby, according to the Fire Department.
"The building manager got a call from a neighbor," DelDotto said. "He saw fire. ... He pulled the building hook and activated the fire alarm, and that generated the response from the Fire Department."
The alarm also evacuated the building, leaving nobody inside the entire complex when fire crews arrived. The apartment's door was closed, preventing the fire from growing quickly and spreading to other apartments.
Another part of the success in fighting the blaze was a ladder truck that was able to get a responder into the fourth-story apartment quickly as other responders negotiated the building.
Most of the building's residents were able to return that night, with some exception for those in abutting apartments. Due to fire damage, the two residents of the damaged apartment haven't yet returned, and the tenants won't be able to return until all the damage — which includes smoke damage to several surfaces — is repaired.
John Cunningham, a 27-year-old, second-floor resident of the building, said he was glad that the manager reacted the way he did.
"Good reaction on his part," Cunningham said. "He didn't panic. He pulled the fire alarm and did the right thing."
When responding to a fire, DelDotto said a person's primary concern should be leaving the building and getting to safety. If possible along the way, the person should also contact 911, trigger the building's fire alarm and close all doors leading to the fire.
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