Madawaska police recognize life-saving actions of four people who responded to house fire

1 month ago

MADAWASKA, Maine – Madawaska Police Chief Jamie Pelletier recognized the heroic efforts of four individuals who helped save a woman’s life during a fire last month.

The people recognized on Saturday at the town office were Madawaska police officers Seth Querze and Xavier Denis, Madawaska resident and neighbor Asa Hayes, and dispatcher Cheyenne Finemore.

Pelletier explained to those in attendance that, on the morning of the fire, officers Querze and Denis were dispatched to provide traffic control. Once they arrived, they saw a small, two-story home totally engulfed in flames and smoke.

Denis spoke to Hayes, who said he believed two residents were still inside the house. With the fire stronger on the north side, Denis tried to find an entrance on the south side and Querze went to speak with the neighbors. Querze shined his flashlight on the front door and noticed the silhouette of a person standing there.

“One of the residents, Diana Levesque, was able to get to the front door and open it, but the outside storm door, which swings outward, was blocked by snow and ice that had accumulated over the winter,” Pelletier said.

Pelletier said that, without hesitation, Querze jumped over the snowbank and ran through a foot of snow to get to the door. Both officers were eventually able to pull the door from its hinges. They found that Diana Levesque had collapsed and was unconscious. Hayes then arrived to help the two officers move her to safety.

Hayes’ leg was trapped under the door and power lines from the house were starting to hang low due to the fire.

“All three men were consumed by massive amounts of smoke and extreme heat while trying to get Mrs. Levesque away from the house,” Pelletier said.

Just a few moments later, the power lines collapsed. 

Officers were unable to save Diana’s brother, Gary Levesque, who succumbed to the smoke and flames.

Both officers sustained burns and were later sent to the Northern Maine Medical Center emergency room in Fort Kent to be treated for smoke inhalation. They were released shortly afterward.

Pelletier said that Finemore deserved special recognition for dispatching the two officers, because the initial call did not contain much information.

“She had a gut feeling that something bigger was at play,” Pelletier said. “So she took it upon herself to dispatch Officer Querze and Officer Denis. I think that gut feeling played a big role in saving Mrs. Levesque’s life.”

Pelletier also presented the officers with a pin which shows that their actions saved a life.

“Officers wear [these pins] on their uniform after they save a life,” he said while presenting the first pin to Officer Querze. “This will follow him around for his entire career.”