Firefighters scaled a ladder to save a man and a woman trapped on the third floor of a burning Ashland building in a harrowing rescue Monday night, fire officials said.
The blaze inside the building at 289 Main St. was reported at 11:06 p.m., according to an Ashland fire dispatcher. Arriving firefighters immediately focused on rescuing the two residents, which allowed the fire to intensify, the dispatcher said. The rescue took 20 minutes.
The fire went to three alarms, and it took firefighters more than two hours to extinguish it. Several neighboring towns provided mutual aid to Ashland firefighters.
“It was quite a large task,’’ said Ashland Fire Lieutenant David Iarussi.
The fire appears to have started in the back of the building near a door, Iarussi said. The man and woman were trapped in a room also in the back of the building.
The two victims were transported to a local hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, where they were treated and released, Iarussi said.
The building was built in 1850, according to town assessing records. Fire, smoke, and water left the five-apartment building uninhabitable, Iarussi said. Crews spent the beginning of the afternoon collecting whatever residents’ belongings survived the fire.
The fire left seven residents homeless, Iarussi said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, he said.