Firefighters scaled a ladder to save a man and a woman trapped on the third floor of a burning building in a harrowing rescue Monday night on Main Street in Ashland, fire officials said.
The blaze in the building, which was built in 1850, was reported at 11:06 p.m., according to an Ashland fire dispatcher and town records.
Arriving firefighters focused on rescuing the two residents, which allowed the fire to intensify, the dispatcher said.
The rescue took 20 minutes. The fire went to three alarms, and it took firefighters more than two hours to extinguish it.
Several neighboring towns provided aid to Ashland firefighters.
“It was quite a large task,” said Lieutenant David Iarussi of the Ashland Fire Department.
The fire appears to have started in the back of the building near a door, Iarussi said. The man and woman were trapped in a room in the back of the house.
The two victims were taken to a local hospital for smoke inhalation and were treated and released, Iarussi said.
Fire, smoke, and water left the five-apartment building unhabitable, Iarussi said.
Crews spent the beginning of the afternoon collecting belongings of residents that survived the fire.
The fire left seven residents homeless, Iarussi said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, he said.Lauren Dezenski can be reached at lauren.dezenski@