Two firefighters injured in Billerica blaze; mother, two young girls, escape unharmed

Two firefighters were injured and had to be rescued from a burning Billerica home this morning, but a woman and her daughters who lived there escaped unharmed, officials and a neighbor said.

The Pinehurst Avenue home caught fire at 10:45 a.m., sending black smoke billowing into the air. The blaze was out, Julie Kaplan, a resident of the street, said at 1 p.m.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, but smoke alarms in the home were working. The blaze spread through two floors of one side of a duplex home, said Billerica Fire Captain Dan LeClerc.

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The fire rose to three alarms when two firefighters were injured battling the flames. A mayday alert was issued, and the two men were quickly treated on scene, one with a knee strain and one for smoke inhalation, said LeClerc.

The firefighter who suffered smoke inhalation had his mask fall off. Other firefighters in the area helped him exit the burning home.

“It’s never good news when that happens,” said LeClerc.

Kaplan said she saw the two little girls, a 2-year-old and a 4-or 5-year-old, and their mother outside the home after the fire broke out. She said she watched the girls for the mother, bringing them into her home and baking them cookies.

Firefighters opened up the walls of the home to ensure the fire was extinguished. The other half of the duplex was damaged by smoke but not by flames or water, said LeClerc.

“The house is still standing,” she said. “The fire is out ... but there is definitely damage.” Kaplan said it looked like the windows might be broken.

She said the fire produced large volumes of thick, dark smoke.

Kaplan said she did not see the injured firefighters, but that there were numerous fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars on the scene. The road was blocked off.

The residents will be staying with family, LeClerc said.