June 23, 2018
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Washburn man goes back into burning house to rescue cat, jumps from second floor to safety

By Tim Cox, BDN Staff

WASHBURN, Maine — A man went back into his burning house to rescue a cat, then had to jump out a second-floor window to safety, fire officials reported late Saturday.

Leon Howe smelled smoke in his two-story house on Main Street and opened the basement door to investigate, where he saw smoke and flames, according to Washburn Fire and Rescue Chief Troy Heald.

Howe left the home, then remembered a cat inside and went back in the house for it. However, he had trouble making his way out again and had to jump out a second-floor window, Heald said. Howe was able to take the cat with him.

Firefighters were summoned to the scene about 3:35 a.m., and it took them about two hours to extinguish the blaze, according to Heald.

Howe suffered minor smoke inhalation and was taken to Aroostook Medical Center, where he was treated and then released, said Heald.

The cause of the fire appeared to be electrical.

“There seemed to be a short in some of the wiring of the home,” Heald said.

The fire originated in the basement ceiling and spread into the kitchen. The house had extensive damage in the kitchen area on the first floor and also smoke and water damage throughout the building.

Firefighters from Caribou and Mapleton assisted.

Howe’s daughter lives in the home with him, but she was spending the night with her mother, Heald said.

Howe and his daughter were displaced but are being assisted by the Red Cross, according to Heald.

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