Video: Middleboro man’s quick action saves structure
Robert Guthrie had just arrived at 534 Route 44 for a noon appointment Wednesday when he saw smoke rising from a ground floor suite and flames shooting out of a window air-conditioner.
Guthrie entered the office building, grabbed a fire extinguisher and attacked the blaze until the suppressant ran out.
The quick action by the Middleboro man might have stopped the fire from spreading to other businesses in the two-story structure before firefighters arrived, Doretta Lowney of Downey Associates in Suite 7, said.
“He’s the hero of the day,” said Downey who called 911 and evacuated the building along with the other tenants.
The building is located next to the Hampton Inn and contains seven businesses.
No one was working in the ground floor, back unit at the time of the fire. It is leased to Communication Solutions.
But landlord Jeffrey Mann, who owns nearby Raynham Flea Market and Village South Plaza, said the air conditioner had been malfunctioning the day before during the sweltering heat wave.
The company had just scheduled a service call, he added.
Investigators, including the town’s wiring inspector, point to the faulty unit as the culprit.
Fire Chief George Andrews estimated the damage “in the thousands.”
“The fire was confined to the one room of the business, but the whole building is full of smoke,” Andrews said, as back-up engines from Bridgewater and Taunton left the scene.
Guthrie took his role in the containment of the fire in stride.
“I was a flight attendant for 30 years so we’re trained annually,” he said. “I’ve been there before.”
Raynham Call reporter Susan Parkou Weinstein can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org