DANBY, N.Y. — A woman and her mother are responsible for getting a man safely out of his home before a fire ripped through it, completely destroying the house.

Zoe Kiriazis and he mother Kim Burlingame were playing Skip-Bo in their dining room around 9 p.m. when Kiriazis looked out the window.

“I looked up and saw that our neighbor’s porch was on fire,” she said, quickly grabbing her phone while her mom sprung into action.

“She booked it out of our house and drove across the street,” Kiriazis said, noting that the neighbor’s home at 2016 Danby Road was about a quarter-of-a-mile away. “She ran up up our neighbor’s driveway, and she started banging on the door.”

Kiriazis said she heard her mother banging until she finally made it into the home somehow and found it filled with smoke. Burlingame then started going up the stairs and found the homeowner coming down the stairs in his pajamas.

“Your house is on fire, you have to get out,” Burlingame told him.

Both of them made it down the driveway barefooted in near-zero-degree weather, Burlingame losing her slippers somewhere in the process.

“He was in complete shock,” Kiriazis said. “It is heartbreaking. It is so, so devastating.”

The man was the only one living at the house and Bangs Ambulance made sure he was okay. Kiriazis said her and her family have talked to the man over the years and didn’t know him well. But they opened their home to him last night because she said neighbors should be able to count on each other for help.

“Right now, he and his family are at our house just trying to figure out the next step,” she said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

Many agencies responded to the fire last night including the Danby Volunteer Fire Company, Candor Fire Department, Newfield Fire Company, West Danby Fire Station, Ithaca Fire Department and Brooktondale Volunteer Fire Company. They worked to put the fire out, Kiriazis said, until around 1 or 2 a.m.

But firefighters were called back to the scene at 5:22 a.m. when hot spots flared up again and the house caught fire a second time. Firefighters from the Enfield Volunteer Fire Company, Danby Volunteer Fire Company and West Danby Fire Station were at the house again until 8:22 a.m. putting the blaze out again.

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.