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‘Looking out for us:’ Neighbor uses snow to extinguish garage fire sparked by fireplace ashes

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- A Washington County family is grateful for the actions of a quick-thinking neighbor. The neighbor, in the Town of Wayne, saw ashes in the wind and followed them to find fire.

"He was sitting in his living room," said Jessica Staffin. "It almost looked like butterflies going through the air -- but it was garbage."

Jessica Staffin

Staffin's next-door neighbor noticed something strange.

"He's always looking out for us. It's just awesome," said Staffin.

He didn't ignore it.

"I talked to the sheriff and he said 'you're lucky to have a neighbor that looks out for you like that and takes care of things,'" said Staffin.

The neighbor walked to Staffin's house and saw fire.

"They said if it was just five minutes longer, the whole house would have been gone," said Staffin.

The neighbor ran to get his fire extinguisher and knocked down the fire as much as he could -- but it was still burning.

"There wasn't enough, so he ran back home, told his wife to call 911 and came back with a shovel and started putting more snow on it -- trying to put out the fire," said Staffin.

It turns out, ashes in a garbage bin started the fire which spread to another bin -- which spread to the garage. There could've been explosions in just seconds.

"Gas cans and propane -- it's right next door, so I'm still like, shaking because of it," said Staffin.

Staffin happened to be away at an appointment during the fire, and her children were at school, but she said she knows it could have been worse. Her daughter's bedroom is right above where the fire began.

Staffin's neighbor, her hero, thought it was no big deal. He continued on with his plans and wasn't home to speak with FOX6 News Tuesday, Feb. 13.

"I thanked him so much. I don't think it's really dawned on me what could have really happened," said Staffin.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office said the following in a Facebook post:

"The sheriff’s office would like to extend a thank you to the concerned and quick-acting neighbor; we absolutely love when neighbors watch out for one another."