A small, single-home at 5 Coolidge Road sustained significant damage as the result of a two-alarm fire early Tuesday morning.
According to Fire Chief Mike Hazel, Billerica and Tewksbury firefighters responded to a report of a house fire around 1:30 a.m.
The resident, who was asleep on the first floor at the time, was awoken by noises coming from the basement. With smoke beginning to fill the first floor, he immediately left the house. His cell phone was still inside, so he sought help from neighbors to call 911.
After two unsuccessful attempts to rouse neighbors, he was able to get help at a neighbor's home that was just over the town line in Billerica. As a result, the 911 call went to Billerica, bringing the BFD to the scene first.
According to town records, the home is owned by John Anthony McNeil.
According to Hazel, Billerica Engine 4 arrived at 1:32 a.m. to find heavy fire involvement on the first floor. Tewksbury’s Engine 2 from the South Fire Station arrived on scene 1:38 a.m.
The fire was quickly brought under control by Billerica and Tewksbury fire crews working together to secure a water supply and deploy hose lines to the first floor and basement.
Hazel said the first floor and basement sustained extensive fire and smoke damage.
"The preliminary investigation revealed the fire began in the basement near a woodstove that had been used by the resident earlier in the day," said Hazel. "Combustible material stored too closely to discarded woodstove ashes are believed to have started the fire."
The Wilmington, Andover, and North Reading Fire Departments provided mutual aid coverage in town. The Building and Wiring Inspectors were also called to the scene.
One Tewksbury firefighter received a minor injury as the result of a fall; no hospital treatment was sought.
After removal of large amounts of burned and damaged debris, crews cleared the scene at 5:01 a.m. The building inspector declared the building to be uninhabitable.
Hazel said this can be a dangerous time of year for fires and carbon monoxide leaks, as residents begin heating their homes for the winter.
"Residents are reminded that properly installed and maintained smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are your first line of defense," said Hazel. "These detectors are the only devices that can alert families of a potential fire seven days a week, 24 hours per day."