Teen delivering newspaper prevents Mass. house fire

He noticed beeps that were coming from a smoke alarm, triggered by a smoldering snowblower


By Evan Lips
The Lowell Sun

BILLERICA, Mass. — Donny Clericuzio heard a beeping noise coming from a garage at 64 Charme Road while delivering The Sun on Tuesday.

The 16-year-old rang the doorbell. The Monahans are grateful he did.

The beeps were coming from a smoke alarm, triggered by a smoldering snowblower.

"We opened that garage door, and once the air rushed inside, flames shot out of that machine," homeowner Herb Monahan said yesterday. "I managed to push it out to the driveway. I don't show tears too often but this is one of those times. He is a lifesaver."

"If it wasn't for him, our garage would be a pile of ashes," said his wife, Pat. "And the next thing to go would've been our house."

In his driveway yesterday, Herb Monahan shook Donny's hand and thanked the Billerica Memorial High School student.

Monahan noted that he was lucky he opened the garage's left door. Had he opened the right door, the flames would have raced toward their car outside, he said.

Pat Monahan then called the Fire Department. Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Ferraro said there is always the chance of fire with gasoline-powered equipment.

"Always allow something like a snowblower to cool down before you fill it up again with gas," he said. "Any splashes of gas that hit something like a hot muffler can create a flash-fire."

Donny said he started delivering The Sun in seventh grade, and nothing quite this unusual has happened on the route before.

"A lot of people would have simply dropped off the paper and left," Pat Monahan said. "But Donny is a special young man."

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