Hanson family displaced by fire
At eight o’clock Friday night the Alexopoulos family was home decorating for the holidays. Just five hours later they were fleeing a raging fire, barefoot, screaming for one another to get outside as flames tore through their home on Stringer Lane.
The family was awakened by smoke detectors at about 1 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 5, and had safely evacuated the home by the time firefighters arrived, said Hanson Fire Chief Jerome Thompson in a press release.
The family is being assisted by the Red Cross and there were no injuries reported.
John Alexopoulos and his wife Wendy, married for 20 years, have lived in their home at 40 Stringer Lane for the last 15 years, raising their two children Drew, 18, and Carly, 15, there.
Still shaken and distraught with the flames gone, but the smell of charred wood still permeating the air, John and his son salvaged baseball memorabilia from his son’s high school career.
The family is well known in town and league baseball, and dozens of neighbors and supporters offered comfort and a shoulder to lean on throughout the morning, as they stopped by with clothing and food to assist the family who had a long, sleepless night.
With appreciation to those who extended their sympathy and friendship the Alexopoulos family said they were all safe and that was what mattered.
Wendy recounted seeing the flames grow with in seconds of their smoke detectors sounding.
“I was screaming ‘Get out! Get out!’ but I don’t know if they even heard me, the whole thing is a blur,” she said, still stunned and weeping. “I saw about a foot of flames, near the couch. I ran and grabbed pants and ran out without shoes. We just had to get out.”
Son Drew, who was home from school for the weekend said his room was at the back of the house and was hopeful he could salvage some items.
He heard the smoke detectors and went downstairs.
“I saw flames near the ceiling,” he said.
He described the area as the front of the house, a family room, where he saw the flames. He ran out a side door that they normally use and in relief saw his family had gotten out and were safe.
Carly, 15, a junior at Whitman-Hanson had a friend sleeping over. The girls were also were unharmed. The family dog was rescued safely, too.
Upon arriving at the call for a structure fire a crew of four Hanson firefighters encountered heavy fire conditions. After sounding a second alarm the towns of Whitman, Pembroke, Halifax and East Bridgewater assisted at the scene while Hanover Fire covered Hanson headquarters.
The flames were knocked down within an hour, however crews remained on scene for several hours due to extensive overhaul, said Chief Thompson.
The family was planning on staying with relatives.
“We just finished decorating the house for the holidays. It was beautiful,” said John Alexopoulos in disbelief. Staring at the outside of his home where Christmas decorations remained untouched but the inside of the home completely destroyed. Fire, smoke and water damage was extensive throughout the house, which is uninhabitable, said Thompson.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the Hanson Fire Department and the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal’s Office but is not suspicious in nature.