ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) ─ A fire that destroyed an Attleboro family’s home and forced them out into the cold has been deemed accidental, according to the Attleboro Fire Department.
Firefighters responded to Jessi Pereira’s Virginia Meadows Drive home late Monday night to find heavy flames and smoke pouring from the building.
Pereira shared the harrowing footage of her family bolting out the door and into the front yard, which was recorded by her doorbell camera. All seven of them escaped unharmed.
Late Monday night, firefighters responded to a home on Virginia Meadows Drive Seven residents escaped the house prior to firefighters’ arrival.
“The cries from my children and my husband screaming, and going back in thinking my 6-year-old daughter was still in the house, it’s terrifying,” Pereira said while rewatching the footage. “We could’ve been planning funerals.”
Pereira said her husband woke up first after hearing a noise and ultimately alerted her of the fire.
“I went and got the baby out of her room and the flames were already there,” Pereira recalled.
On Wednesday, Perieria and her husband returned to their home to assess the damage and watched as crews boarded up their windows.
Except for a few items in their garage, which was nearly untouched by the flames, Pereira said they couldn’t salvage anything. The home has been deemed a total loss.
Efforts are already underway to help the family, which include five children ages 13, 11, 6, 3 and 2.
Wamsutta Middle School, which two of Pereira’s children attend, has started a donation drive for the family. The school’s main office is accepting cash, gift cards, and checks made out to the Wamsutta PTO, according to Principal Joseph Connor.
“Our Wamsutta school community, as per usual, has rallied around this family in their time of trouble,” Connor said in a statement.
Pereira said Hyman Fine Elementary School and Attleboro Youth Soccer are also assisting them. She also said neighbors have been dropping off donations for the family and that they’re grateful for all of the support they’ve received.
“Our neighbor down the street, she has a 2-year-old daughter and is expecting another child, she gave us some diapers and wipes,” Pereira said. “In a situation like this, you realize that there is hope and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Pereira’s sister also created a GoFundMe page for the family.