Augusta man in critical condition after fire started in his kitchen

Posted May 27, 2013, at 12:44 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A man who worked near an apartment building that caught fire Sunday morning broke a window to rescue a resident who suffered injuries in the blaze.

The Pleasant Street fire had started in 62-year-old John Murray’s kitchen at about 9:30 a.m. and was cooking-related, according to battalion chief Daniel Guimond of the Augusta Fire Department. Murray was listed Monday in critical condition, according to an official at Maine Medical Center in Portland. He suffered from smoke inhalation and some burns, Guimond said.

His rescuer, who was identified by WMTW News in Portland as Michael Murphy, had been driving to work at a nearby funeral home when he stopped to help.

“He broke a screen and window of the first-floor apartment,” Guimond said. “He had a folding chair and put it through the window and pulled him out the window.”

The fire left 14 people homeless, according to the fire official. They are being helped by the Red Cross, he said.

It took dozens of firefighters from a half-dozen agencies until noon to extinguish the fire. Crews from the Togus VA Hospital Fire Department and the Winthrop, Gardiner, Hallowell and Chelsea fire departments assisted firefighters from the Augusta Fire Department.

The state fire marshal’s office investigated the scene Sunday, Guimond said.

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