Trapped man waves flashlight through heavy smoke to alert firefighters during Dorchester fire rescue

The small circle of white light in center of this photo is the man using a flashlight to signal to Boston firefighters that he is trapped inside his third-floor apartment.
The small circle of white light in center of this photo is the man using a flashlight to signal to Boston firefighters that he is trapped inside his third-floor apartment.Credit: Boston Fire Department

Boston firefighters scrambled some 30 feet up ladders Sunday after a man trapped in the third floor of a burning Dorchester building alerted them to his presence by waving a flashlight through heavy smoke quickly enveloping the building.

Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said that moments after firefighters arrived at the scene at 5 Everett Ave., they saw the small circle of light coming from the third floor in the rear of the large apartment building.

A ladder was erected from the ground to the roof of the second-story addition, and another ladder was then deployed to allow firefighters from Rescue 2 to reach the man, who was guided down both ladders to the street.

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The man, whose identity was not released, and a woman who lived in the apartment building were taken to Boston hospitals for treatment of smoke inhalation, MacDonald said. No firefighters were injured.

“It was one or two minutes into the fire [response] and even the firefighters weren’t sure where the fire has spread, how many floors [impacted], and that kind of stuff,’’ MacDonald said. “They saw the person in the window. So they moved as quickly as they could getting up on that addition in the rear.’’

MacDonald said about 14 people, including two children, were displaced by the fire. Damage was estimated at $500,000 and the cause remains under investigation. He said, however, that investigators believe the fire started in the basement and then spread by traveling up the walls of the structure.

Three alarms were needed to quell the blaze.

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