John Towne (Courtesy/Todd Construction)

Josh Towne didn’t grow up wanting to be a firefighter but on Monday, July 26, he got the chance anyway. 

Towne, 47, a Blodgett resident and construction foreman was at work on a Todd Construction site at South Salem High School when he heard one of his men yelling around 2 p.m. 

“I just was in my office trailer and one of my guys said the building across the street looks like it’s on fire,” Towne said Tuesday.

A glance out the window proved that a balcony on the Terri Apartments at 824 Rural Ave. was, in fact, on fire. 

Towne called 911 and grabbed a fire extinguisher along with carpenter Bill Goggin. The pair ran across the street. 

“They were like four-foot flames and by the time we got there, another residential contractor was trying to put it out too," Towne said.

The men emptied their 10 pound extinguishers and, according to Salem Fire spokesperson Greg Walsh, neighbors pulled water hoses over to help extinguish the flames. 

“We usually recommend that if the fire is about the size of a trash can and someone has training or an extinguisher or a hose then yeah, go ahead and get that fire out,” Walsh said. “But if it’s bigger than that, we would say evacuate and call us but again if they have a hose and can even keep the surrounding area cool, that does help.”

Towne said that’s all he wanted to do: help. 

“I didn’t know if anyone was in there and I just thought if I could get over there fast and get the flames down, it would help,” he said. 

Firefighters arrived on scene and evacuated the building.

According to Walsh, damage seemingly impacted the one unit and the fire marshal was not dispatched to investigate. The cause of the fire is currently unknown. 

Contact reporter Caitlyn May at caitlynmmay@gmail.com.

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