Laurel home destroyed by fire, propane grill to blame

Plans for a special Thanksgiving turned to tragedy for a family in Laurel. Fire raced through their home on Prince George St. late Wednesday night. The family got out safety with little but their nightclothes.

The family decided to smoke their turkey this year. Apparently the smoking ignited the deck on the back of the house. Within minutes fire engulfed the home.

Flames shot through the house in seconds. A smoke detector woke Bonnie Austin, her husband, and her daughter, Cindy, around 10:30 p.m. They raced out of the house with only the clothes they had on.

“It’s overwhelming,” says Bonnie.

Today the Austin’s say they had smoked turkeys before without incident. They say they don’t know why it started a fire this time.

“Three weeks ago I sat and cried watching the folks in Long Island dealing with losing their houses to fire and water damage and Sandy,” she says.

While friends and neighbors come to help out, the Austin’s also take comfort in knowing, despite a blanket of black smoke and searing heat at their back, everyone got out safely. One firefighter suffered minor injuries.

“We are all safe and we got out and it’s not as bad as it could have been,” says Cindy.

As they wait for word from their insurance company, neighbors have taken them in. They say they may have little left, but they still plan to celebrate Thanksgiving.

“I don’t know if that’s going to be the Thanksgiving we would have had today, but it certainly is a Thanksgiving dinner that we are all together and be thankful for the neighbors and friends.”

The Austin’s hope they’ll be able to repair their home and it won’t be deemed a total loss.