Sixteen-year-old Jill Millette, of Pelham, said she was walking around the house this afternoon, and that her sister Monique was making toast, when a neighbor knocked on their door and alerted them to a fire across the street.
Someone had already called 911, sending Pelham firefighters heading toward 13 Birch Lane at 3:34 p.m. Crews were already on another call, though, so their response was delayed, according to Chief James Midgley.
Millette said there was just a “small square” of flames initially.
“It started off small and got bigger and bigger until flames were flying out of the place,” Millette said as she stood in her yard watching firefighters work. “It was crazy.”
Midgley said the house was fully involved and flames were through the roof by the time he got there. Crews also arrived to reports that a woman was possibly still inside, though a sweep of the home revealed that was not true.
Crews still managed to knock the fire down in about 30 minutes. There was still severe damage.
Here’s a video of Midgley describing the fire.
Millette and her sister said they’ve lived on the street for about 12 years, and that they have always gone trick or treating and been friends with Mike and Paula from across the street.
The girls didn’t provide Mike and Paula’s last name, but a telephone listing for the address shows a Michael Decelle as living there. Millette said the couple is very nice, middle aged, and that she doesn’t think they have pets or children.
“I feel really bad,” Millette said.
I didn’t see the residents at the scene, but I left a business card with the neighbors, and said they should call me if they have any fundraisers or stuggle to get things back together. The American Red Cross was called to the scene to help the family.