Standing in front of the home where she raised her kids, surrounded by the smell of smoke and burned wood, Brandi Desbien had to fight back her tears.
Flames tore through the Windsor woman's home on Martindale Street in the early hours Wednesday. Damage to the house is estimated at $200,000.
"It makes me want to cry," she said, referring to the state of the home she's owned since 1969. "It's hard to control the emotions."
The fire began in a living room sofa, according to Windsor fire prevention officer John Lee, but the exact cause has not been determined.
Fire alarms saved lives
Every resident managed to escape the fire in the four-unit building because of working fire alarms. Desbien said her grandson heard the alarm and woke up his dad who helped get everyone out before the front of the building engulfed in flames.
"It's what saved their lives," she said, begging other landlords to make sure they use working detectors.
Nine people and two cats lived in the home, all of whom were family or friends of Desbien.
The whole main floor had recently been redone.
Desbien said she planned to move in herself later this month, but that dream has been put on hold now that the home is uninhabitable.
"I raised my kids in that house and now hopefully the insurance company will redo it," she said.