Children jump from second floor to escape fire at Fernwood home

The whole family got out safely, but one child had to go to the hospital for stitches after being cut by shattered glass.

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Yuriy Vyshnevskyy caught his children as they jumped from a second-floor window early Wednesday at their burning Victoria home.

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All got out safely, he said, but his 11-year-old daughter had to go to the hospital for stitches after being cut by shattered glass when she landed.

Vyshnevskyy, a pastor at the neighbouring St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, believes the fire was set deliberately in the area of the front porch.

The wooden heritage home, where the family has lived for about six years, serves as a parish rectory for the church. Even though the home had heavy damage, the church — located at the corner of Cook Street and Caledonia Avenue — looked to have escaped any effect from the fire.

The home on the other side seemed unscathed, as well.

Vyshnevskyy said his wife was awakened by a noise about 1 a.m. then realized there was a fire.

At first, he tried to put it out with water. “It just was spreading too fast.”

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He ran outside through the back door then realized his wife and children were on the second floor, with the fire now right underneath the staircase.

Black smoke was filling the interior of the home, Vyshnevskyy said. “You could hardly see what was happening.”

Mom and the kids went to a window with him waiting below, by this time joined by a neighbour from across the street.

The five- and seven-year-old were caught easily when they jumped but it was a little hard with the eldest, who ended up cutting her arm badly and losing a lot of blood, Vyshnevskyy said. Her injury was luckily limited to soft-tissue damage, he said.

He said the Victoria Fire Department had arrived by then and used a ladder to get his wife out.

Vyshnevskyy said he is extremely grateful that his family is safe.

“You have to be thankful,” he said. “God is watching. God is protecting us.”

For his wife to wake up when she did is amazing, he said, because even a minute or two delay could have made things so much more dangerous.

“I don’t want to think what could have happened.”

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