WINDHAM — Casey Farley was tossing and turning early Wednesday morning, unable to sleep because of an old leg injury, when he spotted flames outside his second-floor bedroom window at the front of the building.

“I got my wife and kids up and got them outside and proceeded to bang on all the doors in the (building) and wake everybody else,” said Farley, a tow-truck driver who has lived in the complex on Calla Way about a year.

His wife, Sarah, and children – a son, 6, and a daughter, 5 – were shaken up but unharmed, he said.

Deputy Fire Chief John Wescott said the cause of the blaze appears to be a cigarette that was improperly discarded near the front of the building.

Farley said that the family ran down the stairs from their second-floor bedrooms and saw that the fire was already coming through the front door. They fled out the back.

“Once I got my wife and kids out on the back porch and knew they were out of harm’s way, I was running around the building, calling 911 on the cell phone, and banging on doors,” he said.

Everyone in the building got out safely. The unit Farley’s family lived in and one adjacent to it were destroyed Wescott said.

Farley’s family and two residents of a neighboring unit were left homeless. Two other units were saved, and their occupants were able to return home later.

“I’ve watched everything I own go up in smoke,” Farley said. His two children were left with only the pajamas they were wearing. The Red Cross has provided donated clothing and is arranging for a place to stay for the immediate future, he said.

“If it wasn’t for the donations, we wouldn’t have anything right now,” he said. “The only things we have is what they’ve given us.” He said the family did not have renter’s insurance.

A neighbor’s unit was badly damaged, but firefighters were able to retrieve some belongings, including photographs and checkbooks, he said. Almost all of Farley’s family’s possessions were destroyed and little was recovered.

The fire was burning through Farley’s unit when firefighters arrived and they spent 30 minutes bringing it under control. Fire Chief Charles Hammond said the building’s fire walls kept the fire from spreading further.

“In the absence of a sprinkler system, the fire wall was the next best thing when they built the buildings,” Hammond said.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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