Woman pulled from Salem house fire dies at hospital

Breanna Edelstein, The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.
·2 min read

Feb. 17—SALEM, N.H. — The 72-year-old woman rescued by a neighbor earlier this month after a fire broke out at 3 Lou-Al Lane died over the weekend, according to Salem fire Chief Larry Best.

He learned of her death Monday, he said, 10 days after firefighters responded to the home on Arlington Mill Reservoir.

Best did not identify the woman, but town records say the home is owned by Maureen L. Butler. Her sister, Elaine Maher, confirmed that Butler lived there alone for about 12 years.

She said Butler died Feb. 13 at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she had been treated since the fire.

Her cause of death is undetermined, according to her sister, but her lungs suffered extreme smoke damage in the blaze.

According to Butler's obituary, she worked for the administrative department of the hospital where she died, at its Charlestown and later Boston campuses.

"Maureen will be remembered for her kind and generous nature. She loved children, she was a big kid at heart, and every year she loved participating in the Teamster's Toy Drive," the death notice reads.

She is described as a terrific sister and aunt whose love for her family was boundless.

A post on the Fire Department's Facebook page soon after their response explained that a call came in on Feb. 5 at 9:37 a.m.

At the time, all units were working at two other simultaneous incidents in the southern end of Salem. Responders freed up from the other calls were told someone was trapped at the Lou-Al Lane address.

The department posted that Salem Deputy Chief Brian Murray arrived at Lou-Al Lane at 9:45 a.m., where he reported a large fire coming from the second-floor windows of a house. The occupant had just gotten out with the assistance of a neighbor.

Maher said her sister spoke highly of that neighbor — a woman whose name she could not recall — even before the fire.

"They lived near each other. It's a small little area, where everyone knows each other, it sounds," she said. "Everyone was friendly."

Best said the fire remains under investigation by the Salem Fire Department and the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal's Office.

The chief offered condolences to the victim's family on behalf of the department.