Passerby saves woman from house fire in Underhill

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Quick action by a passerby and fire crews helped prevent a much worse situation from unfolding in Underhill Friday morning, authorities say.

The Underhill Jericho Fire Department was called to a house on Route 15 around 9:30 a.m. after a passerby spotted a fire.

That passerby, Damien Larose, 39, saw a car in the driveway and checked to see if anyone was in the house.

“He smashed open a nearby window to ventilate the smoke and then took a deep breath and ran inside the home. He found a woman lying unconscious on the kitchen floor and was able to get her out of the home and away from the fire. Once outside the woman began gasping for air and she became semi-conscious,” a press release from Vermont State Police reads.

The woman, June Collilns, 60, was taken to University of Vermont Medical Center to treat severe smoke inhalation and burns to her body.

Multiple crews assisted and damage was limited to the room where the fire originated, thanks to the quick response, officials say.

The fire was caused by a lit cigarette catching a couch on fire, according to the preliminary investigation.

The emergency reduced traffic to one lane for nearly three hours.

The homeowners, Robert and Kelly Collins, were not home at the time of the fire.

The investigation will be completed once June Collins can be interviewed.

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