A U.S. Army staff sergeant assisted a family escape a house fire in Woodstock and firefighters rescued one victim who was unable to get out Friday evening.
The Woodstock Fire/Rescue District responded around 7:20 p.m. Friday to the 1900 block of Dean Street in Woodstock for a report of a structure fire.
Firefighters arrived on the scene within one minute and reported heavy flames showing from the front porch of a two-story home, according to Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Communication Specialist Alex Vucha.
Brian De La Fuente, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, said he was on the way home from a military funeral honors after recently arriving home from Iraq.
De La Fuente said he saw the house on fire before firefighters arrived and ran in to help the family.
“I ran out and called if anyone was inside. Once I heard someone call for help I rushed in. Helped the family out until the fire department and police arrived,” he said.
A male resident of the home, who was in a hospital bed and cannot walk, was trapped inside.
De La Fuente said he and one of the family members began moving things out of the way and attempted to push the bed out of the home.
Vucha said firefighters went inside to rescue the male resident from a rear bedroom of the home.
The male resident was assessed by paramedics but he declined transport to the hospital.
Firefighters began extinguishing the rapidly spreading fire.
Heavy fire conditions quickly spread throughout the home, Vucha said.
The Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) was activated to bring additional resources to the scene.
The fire was considered under control within 35 minutes. Overhaul, cleanup and investigation operations continued for an additional three hours.
Firefighters later located a deceased family dog on the second floor, Vucha said.
The two-story home sustained heavy fire and smoke damage throughout, leaving it uninhabitable. Damage estimates are still being evaluated.
The American Red Cross was requested to assist three residents displaced by the fire.
Vucha said preliminary investigations show the fire began on the front porch but the cause remains under investigation by the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District.