Family who lost Bangor home in fire shares their story of panic and chaos

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 4:32 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - As Tyler L’Italien walks through what used to be his house, he is reminded where he was on Sunday morning, what was happening, and the chaos that ensued.

“So, I got up, and I was looking around, and the room was filled with smoke, the living room. And, I didn’t know where it was coming from. So, I woke up my wife, and yelled, I think there’s a fire,” said L’Italien.

Firefighters say the cause was electrical, stemming from a ceramic heater.

The smoke quickly turned their two couches into flames.

“I’m thinking complete panic and trying to assess the situation. By this point, it’s orange, I can’t see, I can’t breathe, I’m choking,” said L’Italien.

Tyler and his wife Elissa immediately focused their attention on their four-year-old daughter, Ariana.

“My daughter is so scared at this point. She moves from the right of the room to the left where her bed was. The whole room was scorched,” said L’Italien.

The family finally escaped the burning home out the front door.

“I was walking out the door with my daughter, and my pants were on fire, and I yelled to a person to call 911 while ripping off my pants,” said L’Italien.

A good samaritan pulled over to let the family, barely clothed, get into the warmth of their car.

Tyler and Elissa continue to be treated by doctors for burns on their hands and feet.

Towels still in the dryer, tooth brushes in the sink, and broken glass from windows that shattered from the heat.

What’s left in the house is both melted and frozen.

“We’re happy, we’re safe, and we’re here. Call that a New Year’s blessing. If I went back to sleep and didn’t go, oh, what’s that smell, the fire would have caught our door on fire and locked us in with couches on fire,” said L’Italien.

Tyler, Elissa and Ariana are currently staying with nearby family and being assisted by the Red Cross.

They lost almost all of their material possessions in the fire.

A group of their friends started a GoFundMe to help them out.

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