PEABODY — Sixteen-year-old Ben Jutras was hanging out in the living room of his family’s Proctor Street apartment while his mom was out doing errands yesterday when he sensed something was amiss in her room.
“I can’t explain it,” Jutras said yesterday, as firefighters with axes streamed in and out the front door of his blackened home after they’d extinguished a blaze there. “I heard it.”
Realizing that what he’d heard was a fire, Jutras rushed his brother Marcus, 13, and sister Cecelia, 7, out of their first-floor unit and into the street, where the temperature about 3:30 p.m. was just barely in the double digits. They went to a neighbor’s house, and he phoned 911.
Lt. Tracy Collins and firefighter Mike McKiernan with Engine 1 arrived on scene first to find heavy flames coming from the bedroom window, which had burst, said Deputy fire Chief Paul Hinchion. Nobody, aside from Jutras and his two siblings, was home in the four-unit building at the time.
Firefighters broke more windows to vent the blaze, and Engine 3 ran a line into the building, as a crowd of neighbors and ambulance personnel gathered across the street. The fire was quickly extinguished.
“It was 10 degrees,” Hinchion said. “They did a nice job of getting in there and putting it right out.”
There were no injuries during the blaze, which was contained to the bedroom, but it caused smoke damage to the rest of the apartment and to the floors above it. The first-floor unit also sustained water damage. Hinchion estimated the total damage at $30,000.
Hinchion applauded Jutras for getting his family out of the house safely.
“He could’ve freaked out a little,” he said. “He did a very good job controlling himself and getting the kids out of there.”