Firefighter Morley Haynes resuscitates a dog overcome by smoke during a fire at 122 Emerson Ave., London.

By Kathryn Young of the Free Press

Two London men driving by a burning Emerson Avenue home helped to rescue the sole occupant Friday evening after noticing smoke and flames shooting out of an air conditioner in a side window.

“I went to the side door and just started pounding on it,” said Blake Milmine who lives down the street at 177 Emerson.  “I didn’t kick the door in because it might explode.”

Milmine said he heard “something stumbling, and then a thud against the wall and I heard a guy holler for help.”

Milmine and Tom Mills, also of 177 Emerson, helped move  the occupant, Ronald Noxell of 122 Emerson, out onto the lawn for air while neighbours called firemen.

Blake Milmine saw smoke, flames.

Noxell, who was taking a bath about 7:30 p.m. when the fire broke out, was treated for minor burns at Victoria Hospital.  The only other injury was to a pet dog which suffered smoke inhalation and was resuscitated by firemen.

Noxell “was half in a daze,” Milmine recounted later.  “The smoke was starting to get to him.”  Milmine said he kicked open the door after he heard the call for help, then started feeling around in the thick, black smoke.

“I didn’t even know if there were stairs there,” he said.  “Then I made contact with him (Noxell) in the dark” and dragged him outside.  “He was still hanging on to his towel.  His back was all red and the skin was peeling off his shoulder and arm.”

To get to the lawn, Milminie said he and Mills had to cross a live hydro wire lying on the ground.  Noxell was “still wet and dripping” from the bath, he said.  “We had to make sure he didn’t step on the wire.”

The combined 120-240 volt wire, which had been attached to the house near the air conditioner, burned off while Milmine was pounding on the door.

The PUC was called to shut off power to the wire after fire trucks arrived but the wire was still live while neighbours milled around the lawn watching the firemen.

After making sure no other people were in the house, Mills went to the Forest City bingo hall on King Edward Street to get Noxell’s wife, Harriet.

Noxell told firefighters while getting into the ambulance that the family dog was still in the house, firefighter Morley Haynes said.  Haynes and firefighter Jack Kellum found the small black mongrel in one of the back bedrooms.

District Chief Frank Bell estimated fire damage at $30,000 with most of the damage to the living room and kitchen.  One bedroom and the bathroom received heavy smoke and fire damage.

“It was a good thing (Noxell) had the door shut or he would have burned to death,” said Bell.  Heat and water damage ruined the rest of the house.

Fire Insp. Ted Waite blamed  the fire on a faulty extension cord leading to the living room air conditioner which he believed may have overloaded the circuit, igniting the carpet and sofa.

Source: London Free Press