Oxford family survives fire with help from neighbor

Oxford family survives fire with help from neighbor

OXFORD, OH (FOX19) - A fire broke out at a family home in Oxford Saturday morning while the family was asleep, according to the Oxford Police Department.

It happened in the 100 block of Lantern Ridge Road.

The family made it out without injuries after the quick action of their neighbor.

“I pulled over to the side of the road and rolled my window down on the street and saw the black smoke coming back out over the house,” said Rick Verst.

Verst said he was on his way to work just after 7:00 a.m. He jumped out of his vehicle and started trying to get the attention of the family.

“I was calling 911 and ringing doorbells. I was fumbling with the phone,” said Verst.

Verst made contact with the homeowner who then let Verst inside.

Verst said the homeowner tried to put out the flames, which Oxford Fire officials say originated in the back of the home.

When that didn’t work, the homeowner, his wife and Verst grabbed the couples three young children. Neighbors say the youngest child is five weeks old.

“I grabbed one of the little girls and helped her out to the garage with that and by the time we got outside you could see the smoke billowing out beneath the eaves,” said Verst.

Next door neighbor Patrick Meade said it was an emotional morning for the family who lost just about everything. “When we went over and saw them, the mother was visibly upset, but the father understood the important things got out” said Meade.

Meade said through all the devastation the firefighters were able to save one more thing of importance for the family, “They came out with some things with some wedding pictures which was one of those when she’s on the lawn and opens them up and sees the pictures survived, it was one of those amazing moments.”

As for Verst who neighbors are calling the family’s guardian angel, he said, “It was just fortunate timing for them and uh, I’m glad I could help.”

Neighbors say they pitched in to help the family and the family of five is staying with friends in the neighborhood.

Oxford Fire officials say the cause is still under investigation.

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