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By Ryan Johnson, Published August 29 2009

Family uses garden hose to help save house in fire

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The attempts of a husband and wife to extinguish a fire in their Grand Forks home helped to keep the flames from spreading, according to a Grand Forks Fire Department fire marshal.

Terry Wynne said the husband’s attempt to extinguish the bedroom fire using a garden hose didn’t completely douse the blaze, “but his efforts didn’t hurt, that’s for sure.”

The fire broke out just after 8 p.m. at 614 41st Ave. S., and was largely contained by the time police officers and firefighters responded.

Group effort

Jayson McGuire said his family had just finished dinner that evening and was sitting around the table together when they noticed smoke. At first, they looked at the stove and wondered if something was burning, but quickly remembered they had ordered takeout.

From that moment, instinct and years of preparation kicked in.

“You always prepare your kids for something like this, and you always pray that it never happens to you,” he said.

Thirteen-year-old Kristofer grabbed his sisters and little brother and took them out of the house, followed by their mom Meg who called 911.

Jayson was close behind and stayed outside, but decided to try to keep the fire in check until emergency personnel arrived. He used a garden hose to spray the flames that were starting to spread inside his daughter’s bedroom.

After about five minutes, two neighbors showed up with fire extinguishers and the three makeshift firefighters continued to battle the blaze. A police officer arrived soon after and used one of the extinguishers until firefighters showed up to finish the job.

The frantic attempts at putting out the fire did the trick — the only major damage to the house was in that bedroom, and there was only minor smoke damage to a few other rooms. The McGuires could be back in their home as early as next Friday.

‘Wrong right thing'

Meg also contributed to the relatively small amount of damage, even if she didn’t realize it at the time.

Jayson said she did “the wrong right thing” when she ran back inside the house to grab the family pet.

Meg shut the door to the bedroom, which helped to keep the fire contained to one room and probably saved the upstairs, he said.

Jayson had definite priorities.

He said he’s always told the kids that “material things can be replaced, but my family can’t,” and he focused on making sure everyone was safe before picking up the garden hose.

“I think that we did everything that we could possibly do right in order to have contained that fire to make sure that it wouldn’t go any further,” he said.

Wynne agreed, and said the family’s efforts were even done in a fairly safe manner.

“Their efforts were phenomenal,” he said. “Her actions of closing the door and his actions of putting as much water as possible on it kept it in check. I actually congratulated them on it.”

The incident is still under investigation, and a report on the blaze’s cause should be released next Monday.