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police & fire

Family Escapes Early Morning Pelham Blaze

PELHAM, N.Y. – A Pelham family and their dog escaped an early morning four-alarm blaze Wednesday that caused extensive damage to the newly refurbished den of a home at 235 Corona Avenue.

“We got here and there was fire showing out of these windows on the first floor," said Pelham Fire Department Lt. Jim DiNapoli. "We just made entry and knocked it down.”

Patrick and Jackie Hopper, along with their 8-year-old son, Kolby, raced out of the house with their dog after being awakened by their fire alarm shortly after 1 a.m. Jackie called 911 and they were waiting on the lawn when the police and firefighters arrived.

Nobody was injured in the fire that brought responses from Pelham Manor, New Rochelle and Mount Vernon fire departments in addition to the Pelham Fire Department.

“Well, we just completely regutted and basically completed the den – they just stained it this afternoon and I think that’s what – all that spontaneous combustion with a rag that was probably left there,” said Patrick Hopper. “Everything went up in flames.”

With his family safe and the rest of the house intact, Hopper said, “It can always be worse.” The Hoppers, who have insurance to cover the damage, will be staying next door with Joe Hall and his family until they can return to their home, which DiNapoli said would probably be a couple of days.

Hall and his wife were awakened by their barking dog, and when they looked outside their window, “The flames were pouring out” of the Hoppers' front window.

“Thank God they’re all out,” said Hall, who called them "lovely neighbors."

“They’re fine, which is the most important thing. You can always fix the house.”

DiNapoli did not know the cause of the fire, but the Westchester County Cause and Origin team was at the scene to investigate the how it started. DiNapoli said there was extensive damage in the den and minimal smoke damage on the second floor – all of which could have been worse if not for the French doors.

“They had sealed the room off, which was good,” said DiNapoli. “There’s French doors from this front room to the main part of the house, which they closed and kept it contained to the front room, so we were able to extinguish it, which greatly reduced the damage.”

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