Family escapes out back window of burning house

Dave Mathieson
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Little is left of a home destroyed by fire early Monday morning on Fillmore Street in Amherst. The fire also damaged the neighbor’s home.

AMHERST – A young family narrowly escaped from their burning house early Monday morning on Fillmore Street in Amherst.

Their neighbor, Sandra Langille, said she heard their fire alarm and called the Amherst Fire Department “between 2 and 3 a.m.”

“I heard their fire alarm and I got up, and then I heard them break the window and come out the window with their kids, which was fantastic,” said Langille.

“My two windows face their windows and I got up out of bed and I could see the fire throughout the house,” said Langille. “I was running back and forth to each window and wondering what to do.”

Langille said she heard the window smash and heard the father tell his family to ‘Move.”

“They had to come out the bedroom window in the back because the rest of the house was in flames,” said Langille. “He was getting the kids out and his wife out and the dogs out.”

She said the young couple has a baby boy and a girl who is two or three-years old.

The first thing she asked when she went outside was if the kids were OK?

“I’m thankful the kids got out,” she said.

Two dogs were also saved from the flames.

“They had cats as well and I’m not sure if they’re all accounted for,” said Langille.

Langille said the family escaped with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Asked if she thinks the father’s actions were heroic, Langille said, “He’s a good dad. He did his job but, yes, I would call him a hero.”

Langille said the house was rented and believes the family is staying with relatives.

The home directly to the south of the burning house had it’s siding destroyed, but Langille’s house remained unscathed.

“These houses are war time houses and the wood burns really quick,” she said. “I was so scared of my house catching fire because it would have gone up like a tinderbox.”

Langille said she was ready to leave if she had to.

“I had my dog Maggie in my hands if I had to get out,” said Langille. “She’s the size of a cat. It scared me.”

Langille said the street was busy with people watching the fire.

“Things started to quiet down at about 4:30,” she said.

Langille didn’t hear what caused the fire and the Amherst Fire Department wasn’t available for comment on Monday.



Organizations: Amherst Fire Department

Geographic location: AMHERST, Fillmore Street

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Recent comments

    July 03, 2012 - 13:59

    This is very sad, and thank heavens all involved were ok. Things can be replaces but lives cannot be. House / Renters Insurance is a must have.

  • Dale Ferdinand
    July 03, 2012 - 06:58

    I am glad that the family is safe. I am sure that the neighbour calling the fire deparyment was also of great help. Amherst people will assist these folks. The family lost a great deal...and many things can not be replaced. Godspeed.