A 3-alarm fire Saturday evening left a family in Melrose homeless but relieved to be safe.
Firefighters arrived at around 8:30 p.m. to find 504 Lebanon St. engulfed in flames and heavy smoke, said Melrose Fire Captain Mike Sullivan said.
Deborah Schille was at a movie with her husband when one of her sons called to tell her that their three-story home was on fire.
“We went to go have some laughs and then my phone wouldn’t stop ringing,” she said.“We came right home and I knew that it was going to be bad.”
Her adult son, Ryan, was in his room at the time of the fire when he noticed smoke. He went downstairs and saw his brother’s room on the second floor in flames and heavy smoke in the hallway, he said.
Wearing only his underwear, he rushed to get the two dogs and his other brother who was in the kitchen at the time, out of the house.
Hours later, he stood on the corner of his street wearing clothes he borrowed from his neighbor because, and said that he was just relieved that no one was hurt.
“I’m a little bummed out,” Ryan Schille said.”I grew up in that house. I just did three loads of laundry too, and I guess that’s all gone.”
Mayor Gail Infurna was at the fire said she was relieved that everyone made it out of the house uninjured.
“All that matters is that they’re all safe and that they know that we’re here to help them with anything that they need,” Inferna said.
As firefighters managed hot spots inside the house, neighbors brought Deborah Schille cups of coffee, gloves, and offers of guest rooms and extra beds.
At 11 p.m., she stood in her neighbor’s driveway and watched firefighters march into the smoldering remains of her home with axes and crow bars.
“It just doesn’t feel real,” she said, holding a mug of coffee that one neighbor had brought her in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
She said she could not bring herself to stop looking at what remained of the house she raised her three boys— who are now all adults in.
“We don’t know what started the fire,” she said. “It doesn’t even matter now.”
She became emotional as she looked at her wrap-around white porch, the one she loved to spend time on in the summers, still intact.
“I guess when I see them leave,” she said gesturing to the dozen of so firefighters still in front of her home, “it will start to feel real.”