Devin Dumais, 9, shares a moment Wednesday with his grandfather, Paul William Rideout, during a ceremony in Madison honoring Devin’s heroic actions in response to an apartment building fire in June. Zara Norman/Morning Sentinel

MADISON — Devin Dumais said he did not feel scared in June when he sprinted over to a burning apartment building on Bean Street.

Devin, 9, was repainting an Old Town canoe in the driveway at his grandfather’s house on Madison Avenue when he looked up at about 2 p.m. and saw heavy smoke billowing out of a window two doors down.

“He said, ‘Grampy, that’s not a campfire,'” his grandfather, Paul William Rideout, said Wednesday. “I said, ‘Run, Devin, run!’ — and he took action.”

Rideout said he only has one lung and so it was up to Devin to tear down the block. Determined, the boy knocked on the three doors of the apartment building, alerted residents to the fire and urged them to get out.

“I didn’t want the house to burn more,” said Devin, who lived in Waterville at the time, but now resides in Skowhegan. “I just wanted to save the people’s lives.”

Someone else had reported the fire to officials, but by the time a crew from the Madison Fire Department got to the scene, all of the occupants had made it out safely thanks to Devin, fire Chief Don French said at the time.


“I think his quick action made all the difference in the world,” French said Wednesday. “If that fire had got to jumping like they sometimes do, we could have had residents trapped in there, we could have had a whole different outcome.”

Devin Dumais, 9, holds a plaque given to him Wednesday by Madison fire Chief Don French for the boy’s heroic actions responding to an apartment building fire in June. Zara Norman/Morning Sentinel

To recognize Devin’s heroic actions, the Fire Department held a ceremony Wednesday to award him a decorative plaque, a Madison Fire Department T-shirt and, most excitingly for the boy, a ride to his elementary school on Thursday morning in a fire engine.

About 30 people came to the event at the Madison fire station Wednesday, including many firefighters, Madison’s new town manager, Denise Ducharme, and her husband, Rep. Jack Ducharme, who represents District 71 — Cornville, Madison and Norridgewock — in the Maine House of Representatives.

French and Jack Ducharme each gave speeches praising the “swift, decisive, heroic action” Devin took earlier this summer. Also present at the ceremony were two of the residents of 25 Bean St., who said they owe the boy their lives.

“That place is like a matchbox. (French) said it would have went up quick,” Susanne Lamb said. “He saved our lives, really.”

Another resident, Debbie Lundeby, said that when Devin ushered her out of the burning building, she saw several people standing on the street, filming the fire with their cellphones. Only Devin took action, she said.

French and other firefighters said Wednesday they would love to have Devin join their ranks when he is older, but Devin, who has just begun fourth grade at Margaret Chase Smith School in Skowhegan, said he would like to become an undercover police officer.

“I think I’ll be good at it,” said Devin, hinting to his experience at keeping others safe.

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