MOREAU — A home in White Birch Estates was destroyed by fire on Monday morning, but residents got out safely thanks to a neighbor who spotted smoke and ran to the home to awaken them.

Kayla Donaldson said she was in the home with her husband, their two kids and two stepchildren when they were awakened by someone yelling and pounding on the front door.

“We were sleeping and I woke up when he was pounding on the door,” she said. “It was smoky and we just ran out. We left the doors open hoping the cats would follow, but I don’t know if they made it.”

The family fled with little but their coats, one child not even having time to grab socks. Keys to their van were in the home as well.

A GoFundMe page was set up on the family’s behalf by a co-worker of Donaldson who works at The Queensbury Hotel, according to a Facebook post.

To donate visit, https://goo.gl/BBddki.

Neighbor Michael Papa said he spotted a column of black smoke from about two blocks away and knew it did not look right. He said he ran to the home and saw smoke billowing as he got closer.

He said he has seen heat tape that is used to keep water pipes from freezing under homes sometimes malfunction during extreme cold, and the fire appeared to start under the Seventh Street home.

Residents who gathered a block over as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze credited Papa for potentially saving lives, but he brushed aside the praise.

“I’m not a hero,” he said. “I would hope anyone would do the same for me.”

The family was able to get their two dogs out with them, but the fate of the cats, a bird and fish was unknown, Donaldson said.

The fire was reported just after 8 a.m., and the blaze quickly tore through the single-wide mobile home. Firefighters from South Glens Falls, Wilton, Gansevoort, Fort Edward, West Glens Falls and Hudson Falls responded, but there was little they could do to salvage the home as flames jumped from windows.

A warming bus was brought to the scene to help firefighters deal with the cold.

No word on a cause was available later Monday.

It was one of two structure fires area firefighters dealt with early Monday, as the mercury dropped to 10 below in parts of the region. Kingsbury firefighters dealt with a blaze at a home on county Route 41, but no major damage was reported. West Fort Ann firefighters also dealt with a chimney fire on Firehouse Way, while firefighters from western Saratoga County helped put out a fire in Northville on Monday morning.

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reporter - crimes & courts, public safety and Warren County government

Don Lehman covers crime, Warren County government and the outdoors for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on poststar.com/app/blogs.

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