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Fire ravages local residence, leaving family of 4 homeless

Scott Seitz2 • Mar 18, 2013 at 10:57 PM

Sometimes small miracles can take place amid a bigger tragedy.

Late Friday night, Prospect Road residents Jim and Jayne Hall lost their home due to fire.

(NOTE - To see pictures of the fire damage, click HERE.)

The Halls had placed their oven on "self clean" and were preparing to go to sleep at about 10:42 p.m.

Minutes later, Jim Hall said he smelled smoke and his eyes were starting to burn. When he came around the corner and looked into the kitchen, the entire stove was a ball of flames.

New London firefighters, along with those from Greenwich (Tri-Community) and North Fairfield, as well as the Huron County Sheriff's Office and Firelands Ambulance Services all responded to the scene.

The Halls, along with Jayne's father, Robert Hamilton, and her 15-year-old granddaughter, Avery Thomas, all escaped unharmed.

The Halls have a dog and six cats. As the fire progressed, one of the cats ran off, while four were accounted for as was the dog.

Jayne Hall's 9-year-old cat, Herman, was found on the floor of the fire-ravaged home by New London firefighter Chris Rowland. Herman was barely breathing.

New London firefighter Tammy Montgomery, who also works for Firelands Ambulance, had the cat placed on one of the bench seats in the EMS vehicle and began to use one of the pet oxygen masks that were donated by the Humane Society.

"He was gasping for air," Montgomery said. "We gave him the oxygen and he kept coming around more and more."

Montgomery and Rowland said if it would have been much longer, Herman would not have survived due to smoke inhalation.

"I am so grateful they saved my baby," an emotional Jayne Hall said about Rowland and Montgomery saving Herman.

"I just can't believe it," she added. "Herman is such a fighter. He's really an old man if you think in cat years.

"They performed kitty CPR on him, so to speak, and brought him back to life," she said.

Montgomery said she had never resuscitated an animal before.

Hall had brought Herman with her to the area in 2007 after moving from Illinois.

Firefighters battled the blaze for the better part of two hours, New London Chief John Chapin said.

Chapin added the home is not livable.

"The fire gutted the kitchen, dining room and living room," he added.

New London sent 14 firefighters to the scene, along with three vehicles.

"I definitely want to rebuild," Jim Hall said Sunday. "Right here, but I'd like to move the house back closer to the garden."

For now, the Halls are staying at a Norwalk motel.

They are unsure of where they will live until their home is rebuilt.

"That's what we're trying to figure out," Jim said.

Anyone wanting to help the Halls with food or clothing can call Jayne Hall on her cell phone at (419) 554-8421.

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