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Posted On: Oct 11, 2006


Three women rescued from Brockton fire

By Jennifer Kovalich, Enterprise staff writer

BROCKTON — Joseph Jackson, a 911 dispatcher with Angels Ambulance in Abington, went from answering emergency calls Tuesday to helping three women to safety during a house fire he came upon on his way home from work.

“There was just some smoke when I came down Warren Avenue to South Street,” Jackson, 24, said.

He and his cousin, William Jackson, 21, stopped at the 42 South St. home and helped three women to safety, after the women kept going in and out of the burning home trying to rescue dogs, they said.

“The smoke was just intense. I don't know how they withstood to go in there two times to get the dogs,” Joseph Jackson said.

Three women at the house — homeowner Angela Anaya, 55; and Luisa Gomez, 70, and Carmen Mercado, 51, who police said were both guests there — were taken to Brockton Hospital by ambulances.

Fire Deputy Chief Robert A. Manning said the women were each believed to have suffered smoke inhalation. Onlookers at the scene said one of the women, who they said had high blood pressure, fainted after becoming distraught over the fire.

Another one of the women was also taken to the hospital after emergency medical workers at the scene checked her blood pressure. While firefighters battled the blaze, that woman sat on the steps of a home next door and sobbed, surrounded by friends who tried to comfort her.

An emergency room nurse at Brockton Hospital did not release information Tuesday night about the women's condition upon their request.

No firefighters were injured at the fire. An unidentified onlooker said the dogs at the home were saved.

The fire was reported at 6:54 p.m. by Joseph Jackson, who said he used the phone at 42 South St. to dial 911.

Jackson said when he and his cousin entered the home and went up to the second floor, a small portion of a rug in a rear room was burning.

“They were trying to put it out with little pots,” Jackson said.

He said although the fire was small at first, “it got good and going all of a sudden.”

After calling 911, Jackson said he tried to flag down help from passing motorists until the Fire Department arrived, but to no avail.

“It just seemed an act of selfishness to me,” Jackson said of the non-response from passers-by. “Everybody's in such a rush.”

Manning, the deputy fire chief, said the fire had “a really good head start.”

The home, a white 1 1/2-story New England Colonial with turquoise shutters, is owned by Anaya and Miguel Mercado, according to the city's online assessor's database.

The two-bedroom home is also listed for sale through Coldwell Banker, according to a sign at the front of the house.

Investigators from the fire and wiring departments remained on the scene late Tuesday night trying to determine the cause of the blaze.

Manning said when firefighters from Engine 2 arrived there was heavy fire coming from the back corner of the house. The fire extended up into the attic, burning from the back of the home to the front, the fire deputy chief said. Firefighters cut holes in the roof to ventilate the heat and smoke as they fought the fire. They also had to pull down ceilings to get at the fire. Manning said the home, which sustained smoke and water damage, is not habitable. Utilities to the home were cut Tuesday night.

Joseph Jackson, who was dressed in his Angels Ambulance uniform and had a diamond glinting from his ear, said this was at least the second time he helped lead people to safety in a fire. Another time he helped tenants at a three-family home in Dorchester owned by his uncle to safety during a fire, he said.

“He's a regular action hero,” said his cousin, William, a car rental worker.

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