FORT WAYNE — A family of four, including a toddler and an infant, survived a house fire Thursday morning by leaping from a second-story window of their South Barr Street home.
According to Donald Cinquegrana, a relative of the family, Christopher Dunning was awakened by a smoke detector Thursday morning, but when he tried to go downstairs he was stopped by heavy smoke in the home at 3737 S. Barr St.
Cinquegrana said Dunning went back upstairs and told his fiancée, “Grab the kids. We’re going to have to go out of the window.”
Cinquegrana said Dunning jumped out of the window first, cutting himself and breaking his leg when he hit the ground. Then his fiancée, Natalie Church, dropped their 1-year-old child to him, followed by their 4-month-old child.
Church was the last to jump. She apparently didn’t land on her feet, but she was not seriously hurt in the fall, Cinquegrana said.
All four family members suffered smoke inhalation. The children were released from the hospital later Thursday morning, and Church was to be released by the afternoon. Dunning was held for observation, fire officials said.
Fire officials said the fire was caused by a faulty wire to an air conditioner in the front room of the house.
Speaking through her granddaughter as an interpreter, neighbor Angelina Navarro said she heard a baby crying and went to the kitchen to look out of the window and saw the woman next door dropping her children from the upstairs window. She then went outside, but by the time she got there, all four family members were sitting in the grass next to the house.
Kim Navarro, a neighbor, said the man “was just sitting there and he couldn’t get up.”
A man passing by called 911, and a woman who was passing by took the infant and carried her to the front of the house.
Late Thursday morning, three charred pieces of stuffed furniture and a smashed front door were lying in the front yard, and the first-floor doors and windows were boarded shut. Donald and Donna Cinquegrana were surveying the damage and trying to find a way to get inside the house. They had to retrieve Dunning’s keys so they could get his car to the hospital.
But when he got inside, he couldn’t find the keys in the debris and the darkness.