ROUSES POINT — Tricia Guay and her daughter, Karissa, pounded on Paul Rowe’s door just before 8 a.m. Monday, sobbing, bleeding and asking for help.
Mrs. Guay told him her husband, Randy, “‘was bleeding, but I don’t know where he is,’” Rowe said.
An apparent domestic incident set off the chain of events at the Guay home at 30 Priscilla Lane, two doors down from Rowe’s residence.
He ushered the mother and daughter to his pickup truck and took them to North Country Medical Group in Champlain; it would be quicker than calling the ambulance, he figured.
Unaware of that situation, another neighbor, Dan Carey, spotted smoke rolling from the Guay home minutes later and hollered to his wife, Gail.
Running down the street, phone in his hand as he called 911, Mr. Carey hammered on the doors of the burning home. His wife joined him, fearing the cars in the driveway meant the family was inside.
“We wanted to go in, but it was full of smoke,” Mrs. Carey said. “For a few minutes, we were very terrified.
“‘Oh, my God, what if they’re in there?’” was the thought repeating itself in her mind.
The normally quiet neighborhood became chaotic as others rushed from their homes, wanting to help, and as Rouses Point Volunteer Fire Department firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke rising from the garage and eaves of the house.
PERSON ON STRETCHER
“We knocked it down in a hurry,” Rouses Point Assistant Chief Walt Laramie said of the fire at about 9:30 a.m., while behind him firefighters worked on the porch, strips of blackened, melted siding hanging about their heads.
Fire hoses snaked down the street; yellow crime-scene tape stretched from the Guay home past Rose Deso’s house next door and across the front of Rowe’s home at 26 Priscilla Lane.
Laramie said he could give no other details; State Police were investigating the fire.
Suddenly a shout went up, and firefighters hustled between the Guay and Deso homes.
“Bring the ambulance,” someone hollered.
Fire officials herded bystanders far up the street as the rescue truck moved slowly past. A stretcher rolled between the two homes came back with a person, swathed in white, slightly reclined on it.
“There are no indications that anybody is fatally injured,” State Police Sgt. Todd St. Louis said shortly afterward.
Police wouldn’t say whether the person on the stretcher was Mr. Guay.
The investigation would get moving once the fire companies were finished their work, St. Louis said.
DOG, CATS DIED
“It’s so shocking,” said Mary Shaughnessy, who is Rowe’s girlfriend. “I like both Randy and Tricia.”
She had received a call at work — the Post Office in Plattsburgh — saying Rowe’s home was on fire and had sped to Rouses Point in just about 16 minutes, she said.
Relieved to find that report incorrect, she worried about Karissa, who is 12.
The girl’s dog had died, Rowe said Mrs. Guay had told him.
“A little pug,” Shaughnessy said. “So heartbreaking — that little girl loved that dog.”
And she had heard the Guays’ two cats didn’t survive the fire.
A police officer took Rowe into his home through a back entrance to get his cellphone and wallet.
The house would likely remain off limits all day, the trooper told him.
Rouses Point Code Enforcement Officer Clifford Sterling filled out an order to post on the Guays’ door saying the home was unsafe and that entrance was forbidden.
The house itself, he said, mostly suffered smoke damage, with the fire wreaking havoc in the basement and garage.
Quiet returned briefly to the street, broken by a rekindle at the home at about 11:30 a.m., again knocked down by firefighters.
Besides Rouses Point, fire crews responded to the first call from Champlain, Mooers, Alburgh, Vt., and Lacolle, Quebec.
According to CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh on Monday afternoon, the Guays had not been treated there.
State Police Troop B Bureau of Criminal Investigation Lt. John Coryea said no further information was available as the investigation was continuing.
Email Suzanne Moore:firstname.lastname@example.org