Ilion, N.Y. - An Ilion family of six escaped their burning home on Otsego St. around 1:00 Saturday morning. Ilion Fire Chief Robert Paddock says all six were asleep and were awakened by a neighbor who saw the flames and came running over to the house to wake everyone up.
Paddock says the husband and wife and their four children, ages 8 to their teens, were all out of the house when firefighters arrived, but all three vehicles that were parked in the driveway were on fire, along with the house.
Paddock says firefighters tried to save the family's pets, but were unsuccessful, "Unfortunately there was one dog and five or six cats that lost their lives in the fire. We always do our best, but with human life the first priority, sometimes those things don't work out."
A neighbor, Margaret Bussey says her 18 year old son Nathan heard something outside, looked out of their window and saw flames and then went running knowing the family that lives in the burning home, "He couldn't have screamed any louder, he just kept saying fire, fire, please get out of the house, get out of the house, fire, fire. He was running back-and-forth."
Paddock says if it wasn't for the neighbor, the scene on Otsego St. today would be a very, very sad one, as we could have been looking at six lives lost.
Paddock says the fire is believed to have started in the back of the two story one-family home, either outside or on the back porch, but the cause remains under investigation. He does credit his firefighters and those that responded from other departments to help, with keeping the fire from spreading to the homes on each side of the burning structure, especially with a prevailing wind at that was pretty bad at that hour of the morning.
Firefighters were on scene most of Saturday morning to make sure hot spots did not rekindle a fire.
Paddock says he is not sure if the family had smoke detectors or not, but if they did, it doesn't appear they were working so this is a story that should serve as a reminder to everyone, have smoke detectors throughout your home and check to make sure they are working on a regular basis.
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