Granville police officer helps man, dog escape fire

By Jaime Thomas

A keen eye and a quick response stopped a Maple Street fire soon after it started Wednesday night.

Granville Police Officer William Kitts was on patrol when he noticed smoke coming out of the back of a house at 2 Maple St. in Granville. He alerted local fire departments and was then able to wake up the only resident, John Harney, and get him and his dog out of the building.

Firefighters were able to get inside the scene of heavy fire conditions in the rear of the dwelling, Granville Fire Chief Ryan Pedone said. He said firefighters were initially battling high, unbearable heat, which was somewhat reduced with broken windows and opening up the house.

Crews knocked down the main body of the fire within 20 to 30 minutes and spent several more hours checking the roof and other areas for hot spots until they cleared out at 1 a.m.

“The longest amount of time we were there was spent investigating,” Pedone said. He said the fire appears to have been started from an outside light fixture at the rear of the house.

Harney was sleeping as smoke conditions increased, and his fire alarms hadn’t gone off before Kitts arrived.

“The police department was there so quick,” Pedone said. “When we first arrived, the fire was just starting.”

Because of such an immediate response and knockdown, most of the house was able to be salvaged.

“There was quite a bit of damage, but it’s reparable. They were able to contain it to the back of the house” Pedone said. He said a rear mechanical room will have to be gutted, and another room on the second floor above it was damaged as well.

There were “quite a few” apparatus at the scene, but the firefighters were in higher demand than their trucks.

Crews from Granville Engine and Hose, Granville Hook and Ladder, Middle Granville, North Granville and West Pawlet responded to the blaze.

“It was a really good stop—a really good, aggressive knockdown. The crews did a phenomenal job as usual,” Pedone said. Harney was displaced from the home as of last week and was staying with family.

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