An off-duty Salem firefighter who spotted smoke is being credited with helping a local woman and her two children out of a burning house on Pierce Avenue Thursday afternoon.
At 12 p.m., local firefighters working to extinguish a vehicle fire near The Black Lobster on Bridge Street were alerted by off-duty firefighter Dan Saffer that a house fire was breaking out at 2 Pierce Ave.
"He spotted it on his way to Beverly, went in and got the woman and her children out of there," Deputy Fire Chief Brian Harrington said. "They were aware that there was a fire but they hadn't made the decision to leave the house."
Firefighters from Beverly, Marblehead, Danvers and Peabody braved freezing temperatures while working the two-alarm fire.
Harrington said driving snowfall generated by an approaching storm made for "treacherous" conditions.
The fire has been ruled accidental. A family of four displaced by the blaze is currently being assisted by the American Red Cross.