December 21, 2012

Store employees save Anson family from burning home

BY RACHEL OHM Staff Writer

ANSON -- Store workers saw fire coming from the back of a mobile home near the store early Thursday morning and woke up the family inside, likely saving their lives.

click image to enlarge

LOST HOME: Home owner Margaret Torrance, left, looks at the remains of her mobile home on Thursday, which was destroyed by fire earlier in the day. A wood stove fire caused the blaze.

The mobile home at 18 Randall St. was destroyed by the 4:30 a.m. fire, which started in a wood stove in a wood addition to the home, according to Madison Fire Chief Roger Lightbody.

The home's owner, Margaret Torrance, 63, said her son, grandson and granddaughter were asleep when she was awoken by banging on the door.

Samantha Wood, 25, of New Vineyard, who works at Casey's Market, a convenience store behind the home, saw flames coming from the back of the mobile home as she was arriving at work around 4:30 a.m.

Wood called the fire department and Somerset County dispatchers while another store employee, Monica Frith, ran across the street to wake the family, she said.

"I don't know if we would have realized it without her," said Torrance, who said she wasn't able to save any of her belongings except for the pajamas and a pair of shoes she was wearing when she left the home.

Her sister, Susan Torrance, 61, of Pittsfield, agreed.

"The whole family was asleep. The people from Casey's more or less saved their lives," she said.

Margaret Torrance said the mobile home was destroyed, just two days before her grandson, Daniel Lavoie, turns 18. Her son, Norman Bennett, 41, also lives in the home. Granddaughter Savannah Lavoie, 12, was visiting.

Lightbody said no one was hurt in the fire. It took about five minutes to get under control once firefighters arrived on the scene about 4:30 a.m., he said.

On Thursday afternoon the family cat, B.W., was hiding under the debris and the family hadn't been able to rescue him because he was too scared, said Torrance.

Torrance said she plans to stay with her daughter, who lives in Wilton, while she figures out what to do.

In addition to the Madison Fire Department, firefighters from Anson and Starks also responded. They remained on scene for about two hours to make sure the fire was extinguished.

Rachel Ohm -- 612-2368


This story has been corrected with the proper spelling of Margaret Torrance's last name. An earlier version incorrectly spelled her name.

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