Officers aid woman in blaze linked to discarded cigarette

Hogan is called a 'hero'

Michael Hogan, a 12-year Arlington police veteran, was at the end of a 20-mile training run for the Pan-Mass Challenge fund-raiser and cycling for home when he saw the smoke.

Off-duty or not, he did what cops do: He called dispatch at 5:46 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, and reported the fire, which turned out to be at 57-59 Webster St.

At a news conference the next day, Chief Fred Ryan called Hogan a "clearly a hero," after he and fellow officer, John Flynn, helped rescue a woman in her late 80s who was on oxygen. Two unidentified neighbors also helped.

Asked whether Hogan thought of himself as a hero, he said, "Not really. Those guys in Watertown; they are the heroes," referring to the officers who dealt with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects in April.

Ryan made his own view clear, saying Hogan received the department's highest honor after the officer used CPR to save a man who had gone into cardiac arrest on the Minuteman Bikeway during Town Day.

As to the fire itself, Deputy Fire Chief James L. Bailey Jr. reported it "was a result of a cigarette being improperly extinguished in a planter filled with mulch on the second-floor deck."

At the news conference, Hogan described what he saw on the home's first floor after Flynn broke in.

"It was weird," he said. "There really wasn't that much smoke [on the first floor].” The elderly woman was there with her daughter, and they did not appear to know there a fire."

There were told, and Hogan picked up the older woman and carried her to safety.

Firefighters brought out at least five canisters of oxygen, which would have exploded had the fire reached them.

Hogan praised fire units, which he said were on the scene in two minutes and brought the blaze under control in about five minutes.

"I hate think what might have happened" without a speedy response, he said.

The two-alarm fire, which broke out on the home's second-floor back porch shortly before 6 p.m., drew multiple fire trucks, ambulances and support vehicles from Arlington, Cambridge, Somerville and Medford. There were 30 firefighters. Warren and Webster streets were closed as firefighters worked the scene.

All Arlington Fire Department units were present. Chief Robert Jefferson, the safety officer and two fire investigators were including, bringing the total town personnel to 20. Somerville had six personnel at the fire and Medford four.

The first-floor unit had a very light smoke condition on Hogan's arrival. The second-floor unit had extensive fire, smoke and water damage. The first-floor unit sustained damage because of smoke and water.

Bailey declined to disclose the name of the women who was rescued. Police said she was admitted to Mount Auburn Hospital.

Boston.com reported May 29 that the fire caused $300,000 to $350,000 in damage to the home, which, according to assessor’s records, was built in 1923.

Hogan -- known for managing Dasty, a dog that aids investigations -- is training for his second Pan-Mass Challenge, a 192-mile effort set for August. The fund-raiser supports cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through an annual bike-a-thon that crosses Massachusetts.

His wife is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and he said she is "doing well."

He is the father of four children. He called them "three nuns and a hockey player." They are 13, 11, 9 and 7 years old.

Asked about his response to bringing a woman to safety, he said it was right in line with his work as a police officer.

"It's just what you do to help people," he said. Later, he said he would someone to do the same for his family.


This story was published Wednesday, May 29, 2013.

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