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Fond du Lac firefighters rescue 82-year-old woman after neighbor saw flames

“I feel like it was meant for me to be awake at that moment."
House fire in Fond du Lac
Posted at 6:25 PM, Feb 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-08 16:44:55-05

FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — Just after 1:30 Tuesday morning, the Fond du Lac fire department responded to a fire on the 900 block of Ashbury Ct that took over an hour to extinguish.

The fire department said an 82-year-old woman inside was rescued and doing well as of Tuesday morning. The fire department said the quick response was in part because of one neighbor who was awake and called 911.

“She actually saved a life I believe this morning,” Fond du Lac Fire Chief Erick Gerritson said.

Luann Bibb was up late working on homework, when she looked out her window to see a fire down the street.

“I see the roof of fire and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I go and get my dad and I was like, ‘hey, the house across the street is on fire! I call 911 and get my shoes on, and he gets his shoes on. And by the time we get to the house, we can already hear the sirens come in,” Bibb said.

Bibb said she was glad she was able to help.

“I feel like it was meant for me to be awake at that moment,” Bibb said. “I think some kind of like universe sign or something because I'm usually not awake that late.”

Fire Chief Erick Gerritson says the woman in the home was hard of hearing and slept without her hearing aids in, so she didn’t hear the fire or smoke alarms.

“She never heard any of the fire noises so she was shocked when our members said ‘hey, your house is on fire to get out,’” Gerritson said.

“He said without Luann's intervention, this incident could have ended differently,” Gerritson said.

“She actually saved a life I believe this morning,” Gerritson said.

Luann’s dad Patrick Bibb said they just wanted to make sure their neighbors were alright.

“We knocked on the windows, knocked on the door, trying to make as much noise as I could to see if there was someone home. Right in the middle of that we heard the sirens coming in,” Bibb said.

Neighbor Bob Burmeister said he woke up around 2:30 a.m. to high flames.

“It was high enough that it was over the top of the chimney,” Burmeister said. “So yeah, I'd say probably 6, to 8… 10 feet maybe, you know at the highest point. So it was up there.”Dan Verdigan, another neighbor, said his wife woke up and was initially worried that their own house was on fire, before seeing the flames outside.

“I could, like, not only smell smoke, but I could actually get a whiff of it and I was coughing a little bit, but not too much,” Verdigan said.

Gerritson said the woman did not seek medical treatment after they rescued her and was doing well as of this morning.

“If that neighbor wouldn’t have called fire in at 1:30 in the morning and if she wouldn’t have been up to see that, we might have had a different story,” Gerritson said.

The fire is still under investigation, but officials believe it was caused by electrical issues. The fire department is encouraging residents to check their smoke alarms and make plans to stay fire safe.