Fire ravages local residence, leaving family of 4 homeless

Cat resuscitated by EMS crews
Scott Seitz2
Mar 18, 2013


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.


Kottage Kat

What sizes for clothes?

Kottage Kat

So glad Herman is going to be OK
Thank you ems.


I am so sorry to hear this-but I have a question: There have been alot of fires in the Fitchville area in the last year or 2(not to mention Norwalk). Is there any indication that all of these fires might be connected somehow?


Did you read the article. It said they put the stove on self clean and went to bed, only to wake up a short time later and the kitchen was engulfed in flames. Now Im no detective, but unless these stoves have been congregating in the back woods planning their next house to burn up.....Id say this was an isolated incident.


Sorry, I was a little tired when I read the article and must have skipped over that part.




not sure how the fires would be connected? theres usually more fires in the winter time due to woodburners. maybe the oven in this house was older. which could've led to it catching on fire. glad to hear the family made it out safe and even the cat was saved!


I think they're usually worse out there, because it takes a lot longer to get to the fires than in town. My friend lives that way and she said insurance costs more because it takes longer for help. Maybe that's something most people already know but I never lived in the country, so I just never thought about it. It does make sense, of course. I'm glad everyone made it out safely.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

Your friend should change insurers. State Farm doesn't measure the distance from the fire dept like most do.

Seen it All

I live in a rural area, and have State Farm Insurance. One of the first questions on your homeowners insurance is, "is the nearest fire station volunteer or full time staff?" Then they want to know how far your home is to a hydrant. Well, they are not as close out here as they are in town, so that jacks up the price as well. The insurance company plans on ANY fire at your home in an rural area to be a total loss if in fact you have to wait for the firemen to get to the station before heading out to your home, as most structures are fully engulfed by then.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

You are wrong. State Farm looks at whether homeowners with State Farm in the area have submitted claims for fire losses. Call your agent.


I live in town and have State Farm and they wanted to know how close we were to a hydrant. I think that all insurances ask this question. I hope the family in the article has insurance. Not sure if they are homeowners or renters, but I read that less than 25 percent of renters have insurance.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

You are wrong. Call your State Farm agent.

tell it how it is

Wow.. that's two people who said they have State Farm, who say the same thing..yet you think you're the right one?

You're funny.


To donate 5 dollars to help this local family text "donate" to 419-555-1234.....oh wait that is to help out Haiti.....yeah, I tried to help the flood efforts in Haiti but my hose only reached to the end of the drive way. Let's hope some day we can take care of our own before worrying about every other country. Best wishes to the halls.....


Glad your all ok, hey, put a photo of Herman on here, we would love to see him & donations might pour in, follow up info. is always interesting .


Glad no one was hurt... tough lesson for all of us never ever leave oven on or dishwasher or dryer running and go to bed... Ya just never know.... I have done that before with last two and made myself stop the practice.

p.s glad the putty tat will be ok :)


am i the only one who thinks there is something a little strange about these pictures?


I think grandpa's holding a zippo!

Happy Bunny

I are kinda strange in that they are alot of smiley fam pics or posing with the (i'm assuming) recrue personnel. But the damage is crazy! Wow. I wonder if that last pic is a pic of Herman the cat.


is nice to see that no one died and no one was hurt , your home can be replaced , but you lives cant be .
I would like to know if there was any smoke detectors in the home and if there were were they working or not .

Concerned For A...

My thoughts about the pics are that they are more than likely happy to be alive...That would be my opinion about the smiles. You all still have each other, and you can rebuild. Glad your kitty was saved!