CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Friends and neighbors of a Cheektowaga woman are hailing her neighbor as a hero after he rescued her from her burning home in the SkyHarbor mobile home park Wednesday night. Her cat was killed in the fire, according to the woman’s neighbors.
The fire started around 10 p.m. in a mobile home on Annamarie Terrace. When firefighters arrived, the building was engulfed in flames, and without the quick action of the man next door, the outcome could have been far worse.
“The neighbor next door happened to see the fire. He called it in. He went over, got her out of the house. He saved her life and brought her outside and brought her to a neighbor’s house until we could get the fire under control,” Hy-View Fire chief Daniel Hatfield said.
The woman, we’re told, is disabled and would not have been able to make it out of her home without her neighbor’s help. “She would have passed, she would have passed away in there because there’s no way that she would have been able to make it out on her own,” said Tamisha Dewolf, a home health aide who works with the woman who was rescued.
“An amazing job he did by getting her out. Wonderful job. He is considered a hero,” she added.
Dewolf came to the woman’s home Thursday morning to check on her client as usual, but found what was left after the fire instead.
“I just remember going blank and just praying to g-d that she made it out safe,” Dewolf recalled. “She was a good friend, not only a client to me, but she was a good friend.”
Florence Krawczyk and her daughter Pat, who live two doors away from the fire scene, also spoke very highly of the woman who lived there. “She’s a good person. I’ve known her a long time,” Pat Krawczyk said.
The Krawczyks say the woman was taken to their home after she was rescued, before being taken to the hospital to be checked out. “She had no shoes, no socks, only a blanket and a nightgown. So we took care of her here,” Pat Krawczyk told News 4.
The Krawczyks say the woman had someone working on her home earlier in the day before the fire. They say her pipes had frozen because the heat tape under her unit hadn’t been plugged in for the season yet. “So a guy came and he plugged in it thinking I’ll come back in a couple days, and see if I’ve got to replace it,” Florence Krawczyk said.
Later that night, the mobile home was in flames.
Cheektowaga police confirm fire investigators believe the cause was likely electrical.
“I could smell something about ten minutes before the flames,” Pat Krawczyk said. “I said to my mother, I think something’s burning or melting.”
And this is not the first time the woman has lost her home to fire, according to her neighbors.
They say she used to live next door, on the same lot where the man who rescued her now lives. His home came in after the woman’s home there burned down.
“It blew out the windows and everything, and she lost her cat then and she lost her cat now,” Pat Krawczyk said, when asked about the earlier fire.
The Krawczyks say they hope the woman will be able to come back to the neighborhood soon. They say other neighbors have already stepped forward to offer her help, including a place to stay, if she needs it.