September 30, 2023

Rescue in Manchester, NH (Delayed Post)



MANCHESTER, N.H. —Three firefighters were injured early Monday morning while rescuing a woman from a burning home.

Crews were called to Walnut Street in Manchester shortly after 3:30 a.m. The call originally came in to police as a domestic disturbance, because a man leaving for work said he could hear a woman screaming. Moments later, firefighters rushed to the scene after flames were spotted.

Firefighters found the woman trapped on a second-floor porch and with her nightgown on fire. As they helped her down, the flames flashed over the porch.

“She had left the door open behind her so the fire was rapidly extending up the stairs behind her and it also overtook the porch from the outside,” said Chief James Burkush of the Manchester Fire Department.

Firefighters threw a ladder up to the porch, and had to pry the woman’s hands from the railing, as her clothes were starting to catch fire. They eventually were able to lift her onto the ladder.

Homeowner Donald Rene said his wife fell a few feet, injuring a firefighter below.

The heat was so intense that it melted the top of the ladder, fire officials said.

Firefighter Carl Milliard, the firefighter who jumped the railing to rescue the woman, was being monitered in the intensive care unit until Monday afternoon for observation of his lung function after breathing super-heated air.

“They were concerned about his lung function being in that amount of heat, the heat area that he was in. He sustained second-degree burns to his ears, face, nose and hands,” said Burkush.

Two other firefighters were also taken to the hospital and were treated and released.

Rene’s wife was taken by medical helicopter to Boston with burns over 30 percent of her body.

“She should be OK. She’ll be there for at least a few days,” said Rene.

Rene said there’s very little to salvage of the home he has lived in since 1963, and he also feels a tremendous amount of guilt, since he knows he’s responsible for the fire.

“It’s my mistake. I left some stupid hot dogs on in a small stainless-steel pot in a pan and put some water in it, and I just left it on,” said Rene. “I didn’t realize that one small tiny mistake (like) this would do such tremendous damage.”

Burkush recommended that homeowners have an escape route planned in case of a fire and stick with it.

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