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Family escapes house fire in Port Charlotte

Posted at 10:41 PM, Jan 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-20 22:41:51-05

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — A fire broke out in a home across the street from Neil Armstrong Elementary early Sunday morning while a man, his wife and mother were sleeping inside.

Melissa McCormack said she woke up to a man banging on her door asking for help.

“He was in trouble. He was covered in black. Covered in soot. Covered in blood on his one arm because he had cut his arm breaking out of the window,” she said.

She said he frantically told her his wife and mother were trapped in a fire inside the home across the street.

McCormack said she called 9-1-1 right away and Charlotte County Fire and EMS arrived in less than five minutes. Todd Dunn, a spokesperson for the fire department said the Florida State Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the fire. He said an initial report shows it was possibly an accidental fire that started in the kitchen.

McCormack said she’s lived on Sheehan Blvd. and Breezeswept Ave. for seven years and this was the first time she’d seen a fire in her neighborhood.

“It was a scary sight to see at 6:00 in the morning,” she said.

Sunday evening she checked on the man who escaped the fire shortly after he was released from the hospital for his injured hand. He didn’t want to reveal his name but said the house the caught fire did not belong to him. He said he, his mother and wife were staying at the home temporarily for his sister’s wedding, which is planned for Tuesday.

He said his mom was taken to a trauma center for smoke inhalation. He said he doesn’t know how the fire started.

McCormack said she was planning to stay at a friend’s house last night but decided to stay home instead, and she’s happy she did.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” she said.

She brought clean clothes for the victim to wear, too, since he was still wearing scrubs from the hospital.

“That’s what neighbors do. That’s what we’re here for,” she said.

Julie Dilullo lives directly behind the home that caught fire. she saw the fire trucks on her way to work.

“I’m just praying that the family’s all okay. And God bless them. I hope they get back on their feet,” she said.