Video: Fire guts Winchester home

Eric Tsetsi

Firefighters from Winchester, Medford, Stoneham and Lexington responded to 178 Mystic Valley Parkway, Friday morning March 20, for a reported house fire.

By the time fire personnel arrived to the scene at about 10:35 a.m., flames were already engulfing the home.

According to cleaning contractor Rob Lamb, he was on the second floor inside the house when he realized the chimney was on fire.

“I just smelled something that didn’t smell like a normal chimney fire,” said Lamb. “I ran down to the first floor and there were flames shooting out of the living room up to the ceiling.”

Lamb said he was helping the homeowner Gerrit Earl Deyoung clean out the house so he could sell it.

“As soon as I saw those flames I knew this thing is gonna go up,” said Lamb. “The whole thing happened within two minutes from the time I smelled it, saw the flames, came across (Deyoung), got out to my car and found my phone. The fire department was here probably within five minutes.”

After he smelled the smoke, Lamb said he told Deyoung the house was on fire. Deyoung then attempted to run back inside the house to retrieve the house phone to call 911.

“I went back into the living room to get the phone and I didn’t realize flames were already coming out,” he said.

Deyoung was visibly burned. His haired was singed off, and his skin was red and peeling in areas around his face and neck. The fleece jacket he was wearing was melted and hanging off his back where the flames had burned through.

“I’m OK,” he said while making a cell phone call outside the house. “Just a little bit of singeing on my back.”