Waldoboro fire chief pulls woman from burning home

Posted March 02, 2012, at 12:26 p.m.
Last modified March 02, 2012, at 1:15 p.m.

WALDOBORO, Maine — The town’s fire chief went into a burning mobile home Thursday night, March 1, to rescue a woman.

Waldoboro Fire Chief Paul Smeltzer said the woman was first taken to Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta and then to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she was in critical condition on Friday morning.

The fire call came in shortly before 7 p.m. The fire chief said that while he was on his way to the scene, he was told there might be a person still in the home.

Upon arrival, he looked through the windows but could not see anyone because of the amount of fire and smoke. The chief said he then went inside but initially could not find anyone. He went back out to get fresh air, then returned inside and found the woman on the floor about 10 feet from the door.

Smeltzer dragged Deborah Miller to the doorway, where police and emergency medical service staff pulled the woman out of the house and medical crews began working on her. The woman was not conscious when he found her, the chief said.

Smeltzer said that in his 24 years in the profession this was the first time he has pulled someone out of a fire.

He praised the work of both EMS staff and the fire crews as extraordinary. The roof and the walls of the home were saved even though the initial response was slowed because of a snowstorm that made road and travel conditions difficult.

Firefighters from Warren, Jefferson and Nobleboro also responded and assisted Waldoboro fire crews.

The state fire marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the blaze.

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