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Family survives fire thanks to neighbors & a mailman

Posted at 6:35 PM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 18:35:21-04

DEPEW, N.Y. (WKBW) — Kelly Kwilos lost her home, and everything in it in a fire Thursday evening.

"Not a single one of us had shoes on. I mean, we had the clothes on that we had worn through the day. We had socks and just threw everybody in the van and just left," she said.

"We were watching TV and all of a sudden it got dark in the room, and I jumped up and I looked out the back window and I {said} that's smoke," Jim Drzewieckisaid, her next door neighbor. "So I went to the other side of the room to pull the shade up and look into the driveway next door, there was a...just a like a volcano shooting up."

The fire started in the garage and according to neighbors, a mailman who saw the fire banged on Kwilos's door and got everyone out.

Kwilos quickly put her boys and the family’s dogs in the car and pulled out of the driveway to safety.

Neighbors Jim and Marlene Drzewiecki saw the fire and called 9-1-1.

They then ran next door. When they didn’t see Kwilo’s car in the driveway, they waited for her to come back…because that’s what neighbors in this community do.

"I've got some health problems and she's been cutting the grass once in a while, snow-blowing in the winter time, and you know we don't ask her, she just comes over and does it," said Jim Drzewiecki.

Kwilos is now staying with her sister. A GoFundMe page set up by relatives has already raised more than 21,000 dollars.

"I love all of them. They're just...they're fantastic. I couldn't ask for a better neighborhood to live in," said Kwilos.