BEVERLY — An 88-year-old Beverly man was taken to the hospital after a two-alarm fire ripped through a house at 24 Gardner St. in Beverly on Thursday morning.

Herbert Schlegel was alone in the house when the fire broke out sometime after 8 a.m., according to his son, Michael Schlegel. He said neighbors helped his father get out of the house.

Michael Schlegel said his father, who lives by himself, appeared to have “a little bit of smoke inhalation.”

“He looks like he’s going to be OK, thank God,” he said.

Herbert Schlegel was a teacher and coach for many years in the Manchester schools and also taught at Salem State College. A scholarship in his name is presented annually to a Manchester Essex Regional High School senior.

Michael Schlegel said it looked like “10 foot of flames” were coming out when firefighters opened the roof of the home, which is located off Essex Street near Hurd Stadium. He said it looked like the fire started in the kitchen.

Beverly fire Chief Peter O’Connor said “heavy fire” was coming from the rear of the house when firefighters arrived shortly after the call came in at 8:23 a.m. Firefighters knocked down the outside flames and then attacked the fire inside the house. O’Connor said there was heavy fire at the rear of the building and in the kitchen.

“The fire got into the walls so we had to do a lot of chasing,” O’Connor said. “It got into hidden voids and hot spots and made its way to the attic.”

Beverly firefighters were assisted by firefighters from Peabody, Danvers, Salem and Topsfield, O’Connor said.

Michael Schlegel, 54, who grew up in the house, said his father has been working on a book about sports trivia and Americana for years and he hoped his notebooks were not destroyed in the fire.

“I’m just praying he can get some of that back,” he said. “It’s meant the world to him.”

Paul Leighton contributed to this story by Ethan Forman, who can be reached at 1-978-675-2714 and


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