SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. — Victoria Pierro’s dad is a firefighter, and so was her grandfather. So maybe it’s not surprising that the Swampscott 6-year-old is being hailed as a hero today for saving her family from a devastating fire.
Victoria woke up early Tuesday morning when the fan she uses to help her sleep stopped running.
Victoria “could see fire outside her bedroom window,” Swampscott Fire Chief Kevin Breen said. “She went upstairs and alerted the rest of the family members and they were able to get down the stairs and out of the building ... within seconds. They made it out with literally 30 seconds to spare. They were very, very fortunate.”
All five members of the family — Anthony Pierro, his wife, Lori, Nicholas, 15, Christian, 12, and Victoria — made it out of the home safely as the house went up in flames.
The home’s smoke detectors also went off.
Anthony Pierro is a 12-year veteran of the Fire Department, and his father, Bobby, is a retired Swampscott firefighter, Lori Pierro said.
“She saved the day, she’s my hero,” Lori Pierro said about Victoria.
The family went into a neighbor’s house and they called 911. Neighbors also supplied clothing like shoes and blankets.
The cause of the fire is “going to be officially listed as ‘undetermined’ but it’s not suspicious,” Breen said later Tuesday. Investigators are looking at the possibility of some type of electrical problem, but due to the extent of the damage, the cause may never be known, he added.
‘A roaring inferno’
The first alarm was struck at 4:45 a.m., Breen said, and the second alarm was struck at 4:48 a.m.
Breen described a harrowing scene when firefighters arrived. By then, the family had escaped, but the house was a “roaring inferno.”
About the time the fire was reported, neighbor Kevin Weeks was in his driveway getting ready to go to work.
“I thought I heard someone scream, ‘fire!’” Weeks said. “I looked over and saw the glow. I have never seen a fire like that — so quick.”
The house is in a densely packed neighborhood, and police went door-to-door to alert residents to evacuate. Firefighters wet down adjacent buildings to keep the fire from spreading, witnesses said.
A greenhouse adjacent to the garage in a neighbor’s yard was destroyed, and siding on a garage in a yard to the rear of the home melted.
The fire extended into the home from a garage area, Breen said. It also caught fire to a new minivan parked in the driveway, which was also lost.
“Regrettably, the house is a total loss,” said Breen. “I am very sad for Anthony and his family, but we are grateful that everyone is safe and sound. Houses can be rebuilt. We have our member safe and sound. That is the most important part.”
Forman writes for the Salem (Mass.) News.