December 15, 2018
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‘It was all black. We couldn’t see’: Mourning family recalls house fire that killed mother, wife

A mother died in a house fire over the weekend.

Investigators say the fire started in the attic of a Freeport home.

Three people managed to escape.

For David Madore, 50 years of memories with his wife keep flooding back, like the day they got married.

“By Mother’s Day, I asked her and then we got married in October,” Madore said.

Monday, he’s still in shock over the sudden, tragic loss of his wife, Donelda, who died early Saturday morning in a fire that swept through the top floor of their Freeport home.

Madore woke to the smell of smoke.

“I yelled at her. I woke her up and says ‘Donne, get the ‘H’ out of the house.’ I said, ‘We’re on fire,’” Madore said. “As soon as she opened that door, it was all black. We couldn’t see nothing going out.”

Madore says his wife suffered from diabetes and had trouble walking.

“It was her hips,” Madore said. “She couldn’t move much.”

He says he helped his wife to the top of the stairs and told her to follow him out, but he stopped to yell to his son and daughter-in-law in the basement to get out.

“I thought she went behind me, come down behind me,” Madore said. “But she didn’t.”

Pam Madore thinks her mother-in-law was overcome by heavy smoke.

“She kept saying ‘I can’t see. I can’t see.’ And he was trying to tell her to feel her way around,” Pam Madore said. “But I think she was just so disoriented. She just couldn’t make heads or tails where she was.”

A responding police officer also tried to save her, but by then the entire living room was on fire. A bird did survive, but the family still doesn’t know if any of their three cats made it out. Donelda Madore was 68.

“It’s like anybody else, you never expect it,” David Madore said.

The Red Cross is assisting the family. Funeral arrangements are still being made.

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