ROTTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A family is forced out of their home Monday morning after firefighters say they believe it started as a furnace fire.
Just hours into her sixth birthday, a little girl was forced out of her burning home on McKinley Ave.
“The sirens were pretty close by, so we looked out the window and said, ‘oh there’s a house on fire.’ We dropped our coffees and came over here,” Rich Leet, a neighbor, said.
Firefighters say the call came in around 8:30 a.m. for a fire in the basement that quickly spread throughout the house.
“We saw them moving the cars away from the house one at a time. There was a lot of smoke,” Leet said.
The mother and her two children were able to get out. The father had to climb out of a second-floor window.
Leet was one of the many neighbors rushing in to help out.
“We could hear him coughing on the roof, but we couldn’t see him the smoke was so heavy,” Leet said.
Some 30 to 40 firefighters from three different departments worked to put a stop to the fire.
“It was very heavy in the basement, had some trouble with the stairs and there was partial collapse in the kitchen,” Carman Fire Department Mike Jenks said.
Despite their efforts, firefighters say the family’s cat did not make it out alive.
“The cat died, they buried it in the back yard, that’s too bad,” Leet said.
The father was taken to Ellis Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation but is expected to be ok.
The two little ones are now with relatives.