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      Family escapes fire with help of off-duty firefighter

      Around 9pm Tuesday, Gilbert Schmitzer noticed smoke coming from his neighbor's garage.

      "The garage was pretty much burned up by then already."

      The house belongs to Gil's daughter Linda, son-in-law Robert, and his two grandchildren. Immediately Tuesday night Gil rushed to the house to help get the family out. Gil's grandson was already waking the family.

      "He's the one that got Linda up because she was sleeping. He woke her up and that's when they started trying to get him out," says Gil.

      Him, referring to Gil's son-in-law. Robert is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

      "He can't do nothing. Got MS real bad."

      For the family, moving Robert was a difficult task. That's when an off-duty fireman with his eyes on the sky noticed the smoke.

      "He saw it from [Rt.] 83 and helped with Linda and we got him out before it started burning just before."

      As for the watchful local hero Gill says the Birch Run volunteer fireman was just doing his duty.

      "He's a fireman. that's what he did."

      The cause of the fire is unknown.

      All of the special equipment needed to care for Robert was damaged in the fire. He is being cared for at Lutheran Homes.

      St. Martin church is providing aid to the family.