Nova Scotia

Parents had to drop kids to firefighters below to escape Windsor house fire

The Windsor, N.S., fire chief is crediting a neighbour's bravery in saving a couple and two children from fire that destroyed house.

Neigbour who alerted family 'was very brave and she made a real big difference today,' fire chief says

The fire gutted a home on King Street near Gerrish Street in Windsor, N.S. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The fire chief in Windsor, N.S., says a woman's bravery saved a family of four after fire gutted a two-and-a-half storey duplex early this morning. 

Windsor Fire Department Chief Jamie Juteau said firefighters were called to a report of a car fire at a home on King Street near Gerrish Street.

By the time Juteau arrived minutes later, he said a 2018 Hyundai Elantra and another vehicle were on fire and the flames had spread to the house. 

He said a woman living in one half of the duplex escaped with her children and ran next door to wake up her neighbours. Juteau said at that point the fire had engulfed the front of the building.

"The neighbour there went over and actually roused the tenants that were asleep," he said. 

"She was very brave in doing so with a substantial risk to herself and had she not done that, this would have been a whole other discussion today. I would be surprised it they had even gotten out. She was very brave and she made a real big difference today."

By the time firefighters arrived two vehicles at the home were on fire and the flames had spread to the house.  (Donna Clouston)

Once awake, the family inside ran to the rear of the house to the back deck where they were trapped because of the height. 

"They actually threw the children down. I caught one and carried [the child] out to the ambulance and then went back to the other in the car seat," said Juteau. 

Another firefighter and an RCMP officer then helped the parents escape from the deck.

"It was actually quite an effort," said Juteau.

Thankfully no one was injured. Everyone was examined at the scene but did not need to go to hospital.

The fire started in a 2018 Hyundai Elantra parked in front of the house. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Juteau said despite help from numerous neighbouring fire departments, the building is likely a total loss. 

"I would say it's going to have to come down. That would be my initial guess," he said.

The Canadian Red Cross has arranged emergency housing, meals, clothing and other essentials for the young couple and their two children, ages six months and five years, who needed to be rescued off their back deck.

According to a news release, the Red Cross said the woman and her family in the other half of the duplex are staying with relatives. 

The investigation into the cause of the fire continues. 

No one was injured in the fire though everyone was examined at the scene. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)