At 4 a.m. on June 14, Vaughn resident Christina Sailly was awakened by strange noises. “I thought it was the fire alarm at first, but it was kind of intermittent –– not a solid noise. So it might have been my dog.”
As it turned out, the noise was probably both, and it saved the lives of Sailly and her two children because it alerted her to the fact that her house was on fire.
Sailly ran through the smoke and flame-filled house to her children’s bedrooms, woke them, managed to unlatch the dog’s kennel so he could escape and hustled the kids ––Madison, 11 and Gage, 6 –– outside.
She also tried to rescue the family’s six cats and kittens, but the smoke was so thick she had to abandon that idea. “It was so thick and black that I could hardly find the door or the handle,” she said.
“I knew it was going to go fast. You could hear the windows starting to break and I wanted to get my kids as far away as possible and I wanted them to see as little as possible of what was going on,” she said.
Within minutes, the fire department arrived. “We responded with three engines, one tender and a medic unit,” said Interim Fire Chief Guy Allen.
Allen credited Sailly with fast thinking and the fact that her smoke detector worked. “It’s the thing that made the difference in this case,” he said, adding that it also is a reminder of how important it is for every family to have an exit plan as well as good batteries in their smoke alarm.
“Every time you change your clocks for daylight savings time or regular time, you should also change your batteries in your smoke detectors,” he said.
As frequently happens when there’s a tragedy of some kind, the people of the Key Peninsula have rallied to the Sailly family’s support.
The Red Cross has helped, as has Vaughn Elementary School, which the kids attend, and the KP Facebook page has rallied support.
“I’m just amazed at the outpouring of support my sister is getting from her community,” said Melanie Brisbin, Christina’s sister. “People have been calling the fire department wanting to help, and the school was so helpful and the pouring out of help from the counselors and the students. They suggested that we put out flyers and jars for donations. It’s her face on that jar asking for help, which is hard, because our family never asks for help. But the community is just coming out everywhere to help her.”
Shari’s Restaurant next to the Port Orchard Day’s Inn, where the family has been staying, has even given them free meals.
At press time, Sailly was trying to find another home to rent. “We haven’t really had time to look for housing, but the hotel is pretty expensive,” she said.
Brenda Parsons, Christina’s mother, noted that Christina and the kids “are coming through this so well” and she’s proud of them.
“And I want to say a very heartfelt thank you to the community for all the blessings we’ve received. I was just shocked and kind of amazed by how many people have come up and said, ‘What can I do? What can I do?’ And every time someone helps, they smile. And I love that,” Parsons said.
“I hope to find another place out here,” Sailly said. “My mom and sister are trying to encourage me to move up north to be closer to them in Stanwood/Marysville area.
“But I feel like the kids’ school was so helpful –– they jumped in immediately and I wasn’t expecting that even a little bit, and for the community to just be so supportive. I don’t even want to move out of this area,” she said.
An account has been set up at Chase Bank, where donations can be made for the Sailly family. Donations can also be made through youcaring.com/saillyfamily.