Teen Saves Family As Fire Destroys Home

Teen Saves Family As Fire Destroys Home

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It was just after 2 a.m. Tuesday when 18 year old Tori Brunet smelled something "hot" in her home at 215 West Kirby Street in Dexter.

"I started looking around my room thinking maybe it was my phone charger or my TV and after I did that I laid back in bed and I heard some crackling and popping and I automatically knew it wasn't supposed to be doing that," she said.

It was the start of a fire that destroyed her home. She says she opened the door to a closet that the chimney pipe goes through and saw that the pipe was bright red. Then she knew she had to get her family out.

"My first instinct was I had to get my brothers out because they were the closest to it and I just needed to get them out," said Tori.

She yelled to her mother to call the fire department and got everyone downstairs. Then, she went to go back upstairs to get her brother's cats, but she saw flames coming out of the closet door and decided they needed to get out. She then went to get her grandmother out of the apartment that is attached to the home.

"I was the only one awake in the house, so it was pretty scary that I had to be in control of everything that happened," said Tori.

Town of Brownville Joint Fire District Chief Ryan McIntosh says when he arrived, there was heavy smoke coming out the roof. Not long after, there were flames.

Firefighters were able to put out the fire in about an hour, but not without challenges for both them and their equipment. At 2 a.m., temperatures had dipped to 25 below zero, putting the wind chill at about 40 below.

One of the challenges firefighters ran into was that the first fire hydrant they went to hookup to was frozen.

Firefighters worried the second hydrant may freeze too and called in tankers. Those had to be kept at the fire station in Dexter to keep from freezing.

"Just a few minutes outside, stuff starts freezing; a couple of our engines were starting to freeze up and our firefighters were frozen solid. It was just a very cold night," said McIntosh.

So far the cause of the fire is unknown. The family's 3 dogs and 1 cat got out safely, but they still haven't been able to find 2 other cats. The Red Cross is helping the family as well as relatives, friends and the General Brown School District. 

The photos of the fire were sent in by a viewer.

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