Teen saves cousin from fire: Two suffer burns in Rockland roofing accident
By ANDREW LIGHTMAN
The Patriot Ledger
ROCKLAND - A Rockland teen likely saved his cousin’s life after the Weymouth man fell from a roof in flames, Rockland firefighters said.
Kim Kilbreth, 30, of Weymouth, was severely burned and was listed in critical condition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Kilbreth was working on the roof of his uncle’s home at 641 Liberty St. shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday and was using a torch to soften roofing material, Fire Chief J. Michael Sammon said.
The roof caught fire and the flames spread to Kilbreth’s clothes. His cousin, 17-year-old Patrick McDonald, saw Kilbreth fall from the roof, grabbed a blanket off a nearby clothesline and used it to smother the flames on his cousin, Sammon said. McDonald suffered first-degree burns on his elbows, he added.
McDonald, who lives in the house with his family, ‘‘saved the day,’’ the chief said.
He was taken to South Shore Hospital, Sammon said. A hospital spokeswoman said he was not admitted for care.
‘‘He’s more shaken up than anything,’’ said his father, also named Patrick McDonald.
Kilbreth was initially taken to South Shore Hospital with second-degree burns on his hands, back and legs, Sammon said. Later, he was moved to the Boston hospital.
‘‘If it wasn’t for this boy ... if he hadn’t been there to assist this man, it wouldn’t have been a good outcome at all,’’ Sammon said.
A neighbor dialed 911 after hearing screams and seeing flames and smoke from her window.
‘‘I just stepped in the house and I just heard screaming,’’ said the elder McDonald.
Everyone else in the house, including the family’s cat and two dogs, made it out safely.
The fire, which started on the back roof, quickly spread to the attic and second floor, causing extensive damage, Sammon said. The first floor sustained severe water damage during the firefighting effort.
The house was declared uninhabitable, and the family was only allowed to return briefly to get some necessities. With relatives nearby, the elder McDonald said his family would be able to find a place to stay Tuesday night.
Because of a lack of manpower, Sammon called the Weymouth, Hingham and Hanover fire departments to assist at the scene. Crews from Norwell and Whitman provided station coverage.
‘‘I hate to keep bringing this up, but you need manpower to fight fires,’’ Sammon said.
Andrew Lightman may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Copyright 2007 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Photo courtesy of Pat Travers (NEFirePhoto.com)