Ludlow firefighters save Thanksgiving for one family

LUDLOW, Vt. (WCAX) A Ludlow family gets to enjoy Thanksgiving thanks to their local fire department. At 11 a.m. Thursday, firefighters got a call that someone's oven caught on fire at the Black River Overlook Apartments.

"I was just starting to prepare, get Thanksgiving dinner going for the kids and what happened was I spilled a tiny bit of vegetable cooking oil, but just that small amount caught the oven on fire," Samantha DeCarvalho said.

DeCarvalho grabbed her 1-, 7- and 9-year-old boys ran out back and called 911.

"I thought I was going to lose everything; I thought the whole place was going to go up," DeCarvalho said.

Firefighters got there in about four minutes and put out the fire.

No one was hurt, but Capt. Eric Lever told her the oven was off-limits.

"I thought it wasn't safe, so I said, 'You can't use your stove anymore.' I unplugged it so she can't sue it and told her she had to get it checked out," Lever said.

"So my first thought was, oh my god, I don't have much. I don't have family up here and my friends were all off with their families and I am thinking how are we going to do Thanksgiving?" DeCarvalho said.

"As we left to go back to the station, I turned around to the guys in the back-- and girls-- and said, 'I feel sorry. We kind of need to do something for these people,'" Lever said.

"He came back about 10 minutes later and he says, 'We all thought about it really briefly and we're going to take your dinner and we're going to bring it down the firehouse and cook it for you.' And they made us cookies and it was great," DeCarvalho said. "I was pretty much speechless. I didn't know what to say."

The Ludlow Firefighters also gave the boys T-shirts, teddy bears and peace of mind.

"We got plenty of hugs and some tears were flying there, but she was very thankful for it," Lever said.

"This really showed the true meaning of Thanksgiving," DeCarvalho said. "It's something we'll never forget. This is definitely a Thanksgiving we'll always remember."

We also spoke to Ludlow Fire Chief Pete Kolenda.

Reporter Celine McArthur: Does it surprise you that they did something like this?
Chief Pete Kolenda: Not at all (chuckles).
Celine McArthur: What's the message? What's the takeaway here, chief?
Chief Pete Kolenda: Well, try to be giving, I guess, to the community. That's what we're here for.