Andrea Garcia believes in angels. And not just one -- two.
She says they are her neighbors, who rescued her family and saved their home from what would have otherwise been a devastating fire.
Garcia, 36, was enjoying the fireplace in the living room of her home on North Lyons Road in Jefferson Township when one of her neighbors, Michael Novitski, spotted five-foot flames billowing from the chimney around 9 p.m. Thursday.
Without a second thought, Novitski jumped to action — literally. He scaled the tall, wooden fence surrounding the yard before barging in the home’s back door in a valiant rescue effort, Garcia said.
Novitski was alerting the family to the fire — which had been completely undetectable from within the home — when one of Garcia’s other neighbors, Michael DiAngelis, arrived moments later after being awoken by the alarm.
The pair worked alongside Garcia’s husband, Juan Ferrao, to douse the massive flames by stuffing snow into the chimney from the roof.
“We had 4- or 5-foot flames coming from the chimney and we had no clue what was going on, Garcia told Daily Voice. “If it wasn’t for [Novitski], the first person who saw it, the story would have another end…it would’ve been a tragedy.”
After all was said and done, the chimney blaze was fully doused before the arrival of fire crews, who followed-up with a home inspection to make sure the property was safe.
Emergency crews also treated Garcia’s grandma, who was shaking, had low oxygen and blood pressure “through the roof,” she said.
Otherwise, she said, the family and home are unscathed.
“We’re all safe and thank God there’s no damage,” she said. We built this house three years ago from scratch, my husband built everything. This is his baby.”
Reflecting on the heated experience, Garcia can’t speak highly enough of her neighbors’ quick-thinking and heroic efforts to save her home.
“It’s a miracle. It’s like you have angels watching over you and protecting you. If you don’t believe in angels, I do believe in angels.”
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