PRESTON TOWNSHIP — A family in northern Wayne County is picking up the pieces after a fire ripped through their home Wednesday.
Crews say it started around 8:30 in the house on Cribbs Road in Preston Township.
Neighbors were the first to run to the family’s rescue. It was a terrifying morning for neighbors as they realized a 100-year-old home nearby was on fire.
Many of them rushed inside the burning house, worried the family’s teenage daughter was still inside.
“My husband said ‘I smell smoke’ and then he banged on the door and oh, my God, we couldn’t believe it. It was already heavy smoke coming out of the top floor,” said neighbor Janice Plavnicky.
The Laird family moved into the century-old home that used to be a bed and breakfast about two years ago.
When neighbors first smelled smoke, many say they were worried the family’s 18-year-old daughter was trapped inside.
“Find her and get her out, that was the only thing I was really worried about and we got the dog out,” said neighbor April Bates.
“We tried to get up to her room but it was so heavy with smoke, we couldn’t get in. We couldn’t get up the stairs. I kept calling ‘Jessica, Jessica,’” Plavnicky said.
It turns out that Jessica and the rest of the family were gone for the day and returned only to helplessly watch their home burn.
Neighbors said they felt a sense of relief once they knew everyone was out of this home and safe, but are still saddened to see everything else that’s been lost.”
Water cascaded down the front steps to the home and the roof eventually collapsed. Crews say they did everything they could to try to save what was inside.
“We’ve been able to get some mementos out for the family. Early on we had a crew go in and gather as many personal effects as they could. We’ve got tarps on the furniture on the first floor, trying to salvage what we can,” said Chief Tom Tisano, Northern Wayne Fire Company.
Neighbors say they’ll be right beside the Laird family as they begin to pick up the pieces from this fire.
“It’s heartbreaking, it’s heartbreaking. They lost everything I’m sure,” Plavnicky added.
The Laird family was planning to celebrate their daughter’s high school graduation this weekend. Her cap and gown burned with the home.
Fire crews say the cause of this fire is under investigation.