A 9-year-old boy from Waterville is credited with rushing Sunday to this apartment building at 25 Bean St. in Madison and alerting residents to a fire after he saw heavy smoke billowing from the structure. Madison Fire Department photo

MADISON — A 9-year-old boy from Waterville acted quickly over the weekend to alert tenants to a fire at their Madison apartment building, a fire official said Monday.

Devin Dumais was staying Sunday at his grandparent’s house in Madison when he at about 2 p.m. spotted heavy smoke billowing out of an apartment building a block away, at 25 Bean St., and ran over to help, according to Chief Don French of the Madison Fire Department.

The boy knocked on the doors of all three units at the building, alerting people to the fire and giving them enough notice to safely evacuate before firefighters reached the scene, French said. Someone else had reported the fire, he said, and only Madison firefighters responded.

No one was injured, French said, and because of how quickly the boy was able to spot the smoke, damage was contained to one apartment. Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames within about 10 minutes and left the scene by about 6 p.m.

“I can’t say enough about that 9-year-old boy,” French said. “You know, minutes count when it comes to something like that. Another three or four minutes and the fire could have extended into the other apartments, gone up into the attic — anything. Then we’d have had a lot of trouble.”

The damage to the apartment where the fire originated is extensive and the unit is uninhabitable, according to French. The family who lived at the apartment is being relocated, he said.

Officials believe the fire’s cause was accidental, but French said the Office of State Fire Marshal is expected to conduct an investigation.

Devin Dumais’ grandfather gave French permission to publicly identify the youth, and the chief said he hopes to officially recognize the boy for his actions.

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