Morinville woman, baby escape house fire by jumping out 2nd-storey window
A Morinville, Alta., woman is still in disbelief after escaping her burning house by jumping out a second-storey window with her seven-month-old son clutched in her arms.
Amber Dyck was asleep in the early hours of May 15 when she suddenly woke up.
“I looked over and I [had] just seen a glow and a flicker that looked like a candle,” she said.
Fire had erupted in front of her house and Dyck said smoke was quickly coming through the front door.
“At first, it was total disbelief. I didn’t know where to go.”
Dyck, who had called 911, grabbed baby Daemon, went back to her bedroom and closed the door. But she was still trying to find a way out of increasingly dangerous conditions.
“When I looked up at the bathroom window, it was starting to crack. A couple seconds later, it completely blew out and everything went black with smoke,” she said.
“I couldn’t see anything. It was very difficult to breathe. My lungs were [on] fire. It was brutal.”
Morinville Fire Chief Brad Boddez said 22 local firefighters and three Gibbons firefighters responded to the blaze.
“I could see the flames when we were driving down the street,” he said.
“When we turned the corner, the front part of the house was fully involved and it was coming through the ceiling.”
Dyck opened a window in her bedroom so Daemon could get some fresh air, then she started screaming for help.
“A couple seconds later, I heard someone say, ‘You have to jump now,’ so I stuck my right leg out and held Daemon right against my chest and I jumped.”
Dyck said she didn’t think twice about leaping from the second-storey of her house.
“I intentionally went to jump on my back. I knew if I held [Daemon] here,” she said, pointing to her chest, “and I landed on my back, it would cushion his fall at least.”
Dyck said she fell on the barbecue underneath the window before hitting the deck, which she estimates is roughly 20 feet from where she jumped.
“It didn’t hurt initially, probably adrenaline and shock. When I looked up, our curtain was now on fire so I knew it was getting bad up there,” she said.
The mother said she did not hear a single cry from baby Daemon.
“I poked his arm and pulled him and he just shoved me away. When I looked at him, he was just watching all the embers fly around,” she said.
Daemon was unhurt but Dyck broke a vertebrae and a toe. She underwent a five-hour surgery and now has eight pins and two rods in her back.
Her fiancé Colton Morrill was away for work when the fire happened. He rushed back to be by their sides and learned of how they escaped when he got to the hospital.
“Truly heroic. My fiancée Amber is, by far, my hero,” he said.
Dyck said surveillance cameras show a passerby put a cigarette butt in a planter outside the front of her house. The structure is a total loss.
“There’s peat moss and that potting soil, that tends to smolder over time and can create that fire for sure,” said Boddez.
Boddez describes Dyck’s escape as incredible.
“She’s a very brave young woman for sure,” he said.
Morrill said the family is taking things one day at a time as Dyck recovers from her spinal injury and they are still processing what happened.
“It’s still surreal at moments,” Dyck said about the experience.
“You never think it’s going to be you.”
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