Randolph man suffers smoke inhalation after attempting to rescue cats from burning house

Posted March 18, 2014, at 10:15 a.m.
Last modified March 18, 2014, at 2:25 p.m.

RANDOLPH, Maine — A 60-year-old local man suffered serious smoke inhalation Monday after running back into his burning house three times in an attempt to rescue cats, police said.

Richard Messer of Randolph is being treated at Maine Medical Center in Portland, but his condition was not available Tuesday morning, Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said.

The blaze at Messer’s log cabin-style home on Mill Road started from a metal stove pipe attached to a fireplace, according to McCausland.

Both Messer and his wife were home at the time and managed to get out safely, McCausland said, but Messer ran back inside to attempt to rescue the cats.

Three felines were rescued, although some additional cats perished in the fire, McCausland said. Messer apparently tried to go into the burning house a fourth time, but he was stopped by firefighters.

Messer was initially taken by ambulance to MaineGeneral Hospital in Augusta before he was transferred to Portland. The two-story home was destroyed.