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Woman dies, firefighters burned in heroic rescue attempt in Newton

Posted by Ralph Ranalli January 25, 2008 11:47 AM

NEWTON

Two firefighters suffered severe burns early this morning when they ran through flames and smoke to try to save an elderly woman who had collapsed on the second floor of a family duplex.

The firefighters were able to pull 85-year-old Dorothy Beatrice out of a rear window, but she went into cardiac arrest and died at a local hospital, said Chief Joseph LaCroix of the Newton Fire Department.

Lieutenant Doug Quinn and Firefighter Mark O'Hare lost their helmets as they ran up the flaming stairwell in an attempt to save Beatrice. Quinn suffered second- and third-degree burns on his arms, neck, and ears and was rushed to the burn unit at Massachusetts General Hospital.

O'Hare sustained similar burns but was not as badly injured. He is expected to be released from the hospital today, LaCroix said.

Flames billowed out of a shattered picture window when firefighters arrived at a duplex on Ashmont Avenue at 4:30 a.m. after a neighbor called 911. John Beatrice, a blind man in his 50s, met Quinn and the front steps and told him that his mother was trapped inside.

"The fire was advancing, and he knew he couldn't wait for the hose," LaCroix said.

Quinn and O'Hare found Dorothy Beatrice unconscious on a second floor landing. The flames were so intense they could not go back down the stairs and ran to the back of the building, LaCroix said.

The fire started in a front room on the first floor and remains under investigation.

-- Andrew Ryan and John Ellement

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