Murray makes the news!
- Murray makes the news!
Murray Mugford was driving in St. Thomas Friday morning when he saw flames erupt from a home on Wellington St.
He hit the brakes, grabbed his phone and called 911.
"The fire seemed to be escalating very quickly," said Mugford, a St. Thomas resident who works as a real estate agent in St. Thomas and London.
"It was all pretty dark and quiet in there, so I was pretty sure that I thought people were still in there.”
Mugford shoved a door open, got into the family room and started yelling for everyone to get out, he said.
There were six people inside including Tina Blake, who was reading in her upstairs bedroom.
"I smelled something really strange," Blake said. "It was starting to bug me, so I went to go check what it was. I saw some smoke coming out the top window so I went downstairs and I noticed on front porch there that (the fire) was really going."
Blake ran downstairs to tell the other occupants about the fire and everybody got out, she said.
Everyone was successfully evacuated but a cat named Sammy died in the blaze and the fire caused an estimated $200,000 in damage to the house.
"I don't care about that," Blake said. "I'm just glad that everybody's out of the house."
One vehicle sitting east of the house suffered considerable damage and another vehicle suffered minimal damage, said Glenn Hill, an acting platoon chief with the St. Thomas Fire Department.
Firefighters battled the blaze for about two hours and stayed on scene for another hour. The fire was deemed unintentional and not suspicious.
Deanna Vanatter co-owns the house and was inside with her boyfriend, her son and her son's two friends when the blaze broke out.
She credits Blake for rescuing them.
"She saved all of us, because it was before the fire alarms went off," Vanatter said. "They all went off afterward, but she saved us all."
But Blake also credited Mugford, who later received praise from the St. Thomas Fire Department.
"He should be commended for what he did," said Glenn Hill, an acting platoon chief with the fire department. "He could very well have saved the family's life.
"I guess each individual and each situation is going to be a little bit different. The last thing you want to do is become a victim. But I'm not going to take anything away from what Mr. Mugford did, because it was very heroic."
As for Mugford, he said he's not sure if he's a hero or not.
"They're still here today to talk about it, so it could have been a lot worse, I think, than it turned out," he said.
"I'm happy I could help out. Hopefully I saved some fatalities at the end of the day."