Bride saves family from burning house
BRIDGEPORT -- A North End family was trapped in their home Sunday, flames licking at the walls when suddenly their savior appeared, charging through the thick curtain of smoke in a wedding dress.
Later, the Eitelberg family sat huddled on a lawn across the street from their West McKinley Avenue colonial as firefighters blasted water into the blackened remains of their home. They lamented the loss of their two-story house, but were happy that they and their pets had been spirited to freedom.
A short distance away their rescuer, Georgette Clemons, of Bridgeport, was surrounded by her wedding entourage as she neatly folded her blackened and stained wedding dress.
"It's been an eventful day," she said matter of factly.
Shortly before 5:30 Sunday evening, Clemons, formerly Georgette Fogarty, had just been married to Charles Clemons and was being driven from the church when she spotted smoke coming from the Eitelberg's home.
Hanifah Bost, who was driving the car, said Clemons suddenly yelled, "Stop the car, stop the car."
"There was smoke coming from this house and as soon as I stopped the car, Georgette got out in her wedding dress and ran toward the front door." She said Clemons ran through the smoke into the house and she ran after her.
"I don't know what she was thinking, she had just got married," Bost said.
Clemons said she saw flames on the outside of the house and yelled for the occupants to get out. She
"The woman was yelling about her animals and didn't want to get out so I had to pull her out," Clemons said.
The occupants, including two dogs and two ferrets, out safely, Clemons then ran next door to warn the neighbors of the fire.
"My shoes got messed up, but what are you going to do?" Clemons said later. "At least the people are OK." Firefighters arrived as a thick blanket of smoke covered the neighborhood. Residents, who had come out of their homes to see the fire, ran back covering their faces from the smoke.
"I smelled smoke and then in two seconds the whole place was up in smoke," said neighbor, Sean O'Regan. "It was unreal." "There was smoke at first and then flames erupted," added Jim O'Donnell.
Assistant Fire Chief Christopher Martin said when firefighters arrived flames were shooting out of the second-floor windows.
"The right side of the house appears to have total damage. The people were out when we arrived, and fortunately there were no injuries," he said.
Martin said it appears the fire started in the rear of the house, but the Eitelbergs did not appear to know what started it.