Mass. Officer Hits Siren, Alerts Two to Fire

WESTWOOD, Mass. --

Two women narrowly escaped a three-alarm fire in Westwood overnight after a passing off-duty police officer noticed the flames and alerted the residents.

The officer, Sgt. Bruce McDonald, sounded his horn in order to wake up the people inside.

"I just couldn't believe what I was seeing," he said. "The only thing I could think of at the time was I blasted my siren and horn and stayed on it and it woke up the neighbors and, apparently, one of the people inside."

A woman named Jean Donovan and her niece, Shawna Orlando, were awakened and rushed out as fire crews raced to the scene at 233 Washington Street about 12:30 a.m.

"My niece Shawna, she heard the cruiser. The horn from the cruiser and the siren," said resident Robert Donovan.

There was no immediate word on whether they suffered any injuries.

Relieved, Donovan thanked McDonald for saving his sister and niece.

"There's no doubt in my mind you saved their lives," he told the policeman, giving him a hug.

"God put me in the right place at the right time," McDonald responded.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation. Fire crews believe it started on the front porch and they said they were playing catchup from the time they arrived.

"There was fire up the entire front of the building, from the ground level all the way up through the roof," said Westwood Fire Chief William Scoble.

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