Off-duty firefighter saves family from blaze

An off-duty Tewksbury firefighter saved a family of four from an early-morning blaze that gutted their Sullivan Parkway house after he spied flames at around 1:30 Sunday morning, according to the Tewksbury fire department.

Firefighter William Gosse had fallen asleep on his couch, and when he woke up he noticed a glow through his front window, said fire Captain Jon Viscione. Gosse yelled to his wife to call 911 and took off to rouse his neighbors.

“He went into the house, got the people up and got them out,” said Viscione.


When firefighters arrived on the scene, the family was already safely outside. No one was injured.

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“Billy went above and beyond what he’s expected to do,” said Viscione. “He was off-duty, he was alone, he had no gear on. What he did was very heroic.”

Two cars in the home’s driveway were destroyed by the fire. As firefighters pulled up to the fire, said Viscione, one flaming car rolled down the driveway and crashed into a telephone pole.

Mass. Electric shut down power on the street while firefighters worked to get the fire under control, said Viscione.

The fire took until about 5:30 a.m. to put out, said Viscione, and drew off-duty Tewksbury firefighters as well as engines from Billerica and Wilmington. The town of Andover also sent an engine to cover the town of Tewksbury while all Tewksbury’s engines were at the scene.


Power was restored by about 10 a.m., said Viscione, and firefighters remained on the scene until about noon. Viscione wasn’t sure of the cost of the damage, but said that the house was not inhabitable.

The fire department is still investigating the cause of the fire, he said.

Evan Allen can be reached at