FARMINGTON — Two people driving by a Clover Mill Road home early Saturday and saw flames, stopped and reported the fire and one gentleman got out to help Tomasa Vincent, 72, escape the building, Fire Rescue Chief Terry Bell said.

The other man in the vehicle had an injured leg. They had been on the way to the hospital when they came across the fire.

The unknown passerby was joined by a local police officer and Bell as they worked to get the woman over a snowbank. She had been sitting in the back yard, Bell said. He didn’t know if the passerby got Tomasa off the deck or if she got off herself. The passerby was doing all of the work, he said.

Tomasa died later in the day while her husband, William Vincent, 75, was found on the back deck deceased.

Three of five of the couple’s dogs perished in the fire, Bell said.

It is believed the fire started because of combustable material being near the wood stove, according to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

When firefighters arrived, the house was fully engulfed in flames. Thirty-seven firefighters responded to the fire reported at about 5 a.m. They were from Chesterville, Jay, New Sharon, Strong, Temple, Wilton and Farmington.

“There were either no smoke detectors or they were not working,” Bell said. “People need to have smoke detectors that are operational. It gives you an warning of smoke and sets the smoke detector off.”

He was glad the passerbys stopped to help and reported the fire, he said. People drive by accidents and call 911 but rarely stop, Bell said. With a fire, they report it but do not always stop, he said.

“It would be nice to have people stop,” he said, in case someone needs help like in this case.

The Rev. Richard Vincent of Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada said Monday he would like to thank the “gentleman who called 911 and did his best to save our family members. I would like to thank the Farmington Fire Rescue Department and all the responding firefighters, police, emergency medical responders and hospital staff.”

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