Couple and baby walk away as flames overtake Weatherlow Street house
As he walked barefoot down the ice and snow covered street, wearing only shorts, Martin didn’t seem to notice the sound of glass breaking as the flames and heat popped the front windows of his home.
As Wade’s tiny round, fuzz-covered head peaked out the top of a fluffy blue blanket in his mother’s arms, Martin said Carolina was in the kitchen cooking when the flames broke out and all he cared about was getting the baby out of the house.
Behind them, a firefighter crouched on the front porch, smoke pouring out the door as he propped it open.
Within a few minutes, the flames were out and the firefighters manning the four SFD engines and one from Susan River Fire District started cleaning up.
Almost everyone the couple passed on Weatherlow north of Chestnut offered Martin a seat in a warm car or the loan of a pair of boots, but Martin declined, saying he couldn’t fit his size 13 feet into anyone else’s shoes.
He and his wife finally took a seat in an ambulance, until his mother arrived and the family sat in her car.
Captain Ross Tracy said the front room and kitchen were a total loss from the very hot fire, with smoke and heat damage to most, if not all, the small home’s contents.
By the time Battalion Chief Ted Friedline had a chance to interview him Martin was wearing a pair of heavy shoes and a coat. But when Friedline offered to contact the Red Cross to provide emergency assistance, Martin declined, saying, “We have family and friends all over.”
Susanville Fire Chief Stu Ratner called the station to get someone to contact the Red Cross anyway, just to see if the organization could provide any assistance to the couple and their baby.
“It’s a scary business,” Ratner said as he stood back and watched Friedline in command. “I’m just real glad that they’re OK.”
Friedline praised the firefighters’ effort, saying the fire traveled very quickly, but “Once we got inside the house, we blacked it out real quick.”
As Susanville Police officers directed traffic through the intersection at North Weatherlow and Chestnut streets, melting ice running in little streams all over the asphalt made it somewhat easier for traffic to navigate the streets crowded with fire engines, ambulances and police cars.
Friedline said he had an idea of what caused the fire, but he could not yet release the information.
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