94-year-old man rescued from fire by neighbors

The quick thinking of two neighbors saved a 94-year-old man’s life when a fire started at his home on Forest Street in Methuen, a fire official said.

The fire started about 3 p.m. Monday in an outside trash barrel before spreading into the house, said Methuen Deputy Fire Chief Charles Ripley.


Two neighbors, Susan Norton and Robyn Max, were waiting outside when they saw the fire and sprung into action, Ripley said.

Max used a garden hose to try and extinguish the flames while Norton ran inside to get Roland Tardugno, her 94-year-old neighbor, out, Ripley said.

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Norton found Tardugno near the front of the house and grabbed him, pulling him to safety as the fire quickly spread to the second floor, Ripley said.

Due to their quick thinking, everyone was able to get clear of the home without injury by the time firefighters arrived, according to Ripley.

“They were absolutely instrumental in noticing, taking action, and saving his life,” Ripley said.


Firefighters arrived on scene shortly after 3 p.m. and fought the fire for several hours, clearing the scene about 6:15 p.m., Ripley said.

The damage to the home was severe, but Ripley did not believe the home was a total loss.

“The fire burned in the home for a good while. We don’t have a dollar amount and there’s plenty of smoke and fire damage, but structurally, the house is sound,” Ripley said.

While officials believe the fire started in an outside trash barrel, the cause remains under investigation.

Andrew Grant can be reached at

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