14-year-old sounds alarm during blaze

WILTON – A middle-school girl who smelled smoke before heading off to school alerted the other two families in her building Thursday morning, saving them from what could have been a dangerous fire.

“If she didn’t get the people out of the third floor and alert the people on the first floor, the outcome could have been a lot worse than it was,” Wilton Fire Chief Ray Dick said of the heroics by Abbie Graves, 14.

No one was hurt in the blaze, although the three-story, wood-frame building at 25 Forest Road was rendered uninhabitable. Dick said the fire was accidental.

Dick noted that residents might have been alerted earlier, except that none of the building’s smoke alarms had working batteries.

“None of them went off,” he said. “People really ought to be paying attention to their smoke detector – because some day it could save your life.”

Abbie Graves, an eighth-grader, lives on the second floor of the building. According to officials, at about 7 a.m. on Thursday, she saw smoke coming out of the bedroom of her parents, who were both at work.

She saved the family dog, alerted the family downstairs, and then went upstairs to alert that family, which includes two children. They were still sleeping and unaware of the fire.

Robert Graves, her father, told the Union-Leader of Manchester “She tore the door off the hinges to get the people upstairs out.”

It took fire crews from Wilton, Milford and Lyndeborough about half an hour to control the fire.

No adjoining buildings were damaged.

Crews from Greenville covered the Wilton fire station and crews from Brookline covered Milford’s station.