Fire destroyed an Oxford home this morning as residents tried to keep warm in this bitter cold by starting a fire in the fireplace.
A father and his step daughter were home when fire broke out at 87 Thorson Road around 3 a.m. and both were able to make it out OK.
Brittany Cripe said the heat wasn't working last night, so her stepfather set a fire in the fireplace and slept on a mattress nearby.
When he woke up, the flames had spread and the mattress was on fire, Cripe said.
He ran down to the basement, where the daughter was sleeping, and they both got out safely.
Firefighters said flames were shooting through the roof when they arrived.
Cripe said she is just grateful they got out of the house safely.
"(M)y father is my guardian angel. Woke up just in time. Thank God he woke up too. He was three feet away from the fireplace," Cripe said.
The fire department called in mutual aid from nearby towns and had to shuttle water in because there are no hydrants in this area.
Despite firefighters’ efforts, the home was destroyed.
“The home is a total loss. The fire had a head start on us. The firefighters made an aggressive attack the fire had a head start, and now the outcome is what you see here,” Oxford Fire Chief Scott Pelletier said.
Pelletier said this is the second fire in a week in Oxford in which the 911 call was delayed because people are trying to put out the fires themselves.
"Due to the fire having a head start on us, the outcome is what you see today," he said.
The cold weather made it tougher to fight the fire because equipment, including gear and radios, froze.