Tom Lafferty was making a routine trip home from the grocery store when he saw smoke coming from the roof.
Tom Lafferty, a Portland firefighter, is being hailed as a hero for saving a Westbrook woman from a house fire while off duty. Credit: CBS 13

A Portland firefighter is being hailed as a hero for something he did off the clock.

It was his quick thinking that saved an older Westbrook woman who had no idea her house was on fire.

It was supposed to be a ride home from the grocery store like any other, but as he was driving down New Gorham Road, Tom Lafferty saw smoke coming from the roof of a house Saturday afternoon.

The off-duty Portland firefighter knew just what to do.

He called 911 and then went to bang on the doors, even going around back, to see if anyone was inside.

The woman came out, unaware that her home was on fire.

Lafferty then helped her into his truck across the street so she could stay warm until her family arrived.

“I’m just glad that I was there, because I recognized the situation, and I knew that I could stop a bad situation from getting even worse,” Lafferty said. “Any time you can positively impact someone’s life, either by helping them at a fire or taking them to the hospital if they’re sick, is a great feeling.”

Responding crews found a fire inside the walls of the house and were able to put it out.

The Portland firefighters union said that because of the quick response, crews were able to keep the fire from spreading further and saved the house from more damage.

The cause is still under investigation.