'I thought I was in a movie': Woodstock mother escapes house fire with five kids
A mother and her five kids are staying in a hotel after a fire forced them from their home in Woodstock.
Crews were called to the Thompson Street property Saturday around 7:15 p.m.
“Upon arrival, firefighters encountered heavy smoke and fire inside the basement of the structure,” said Lukasz Kasprzyk, a Fire Prevention Officer with the Woodstock Fire Department.
Flames eventually got inside the walls, which forced firefighters back as they worried about the first floor collapsing.
Crews were forced to break down an outside wall in order to contain the "very stubborn fire" from the outside. They eventually extinguished the flames around 1:30 a.m.
Everyone who lived in the home got out safely and no injuries were reported.
The cause is still being determined but it's not considered suspicious.
Inspectors estimate about $500,000 in damages.
The first floor has partially collapsed, but further examination is needed to verify if the home can be salvaged or will need to be torn down.
"Damage to the upper levels, it’s minimal," said Kasprzyk. "The majority of the structure is compromised in the basement and the first floor.”
“The smoke was coming out about ten feet outside of the door and then just bellowing out,” said neighbour William Johnson.
Andrea Arango and her five children are renting the home. They are now staying in a hotel until they can figure out the next steps with their landlord.
"I was in shock," she said. "Words can not describe. I thought I was in a movie.”
Arango said she got an alert on her phone from her smoke alarm and then noticed smoke coming from the basement.
"My daughter says ‘It’s fire,’ and then my oldest one grabbed the little one and just ran out, and everyone ran out.”
Arango said her family has lost many essential belongings.
"Definitely my kids need clothes, they need jackets, they need shoes. They don’t have nothing right now."