Milton fire and rescue crews responded to a structure fire on Overlake Drive on Tuesday afternoon, the home of one of their own.
Milton firefighter Jeremy Couillard and his wife, Rae, who serves on the Milton School Board, were not home during the onset of the fire at 82 Overlake Dr.
At 2:10 p.m., a neighbor called in the flames, which started in the garage and moved its way up the walls into the attic, eventually caving in the roof, Milton Fire Chief Don Turner said.
Georgia, Colchester Center and Fairfax fire departments were on scene to help fight the blaze.
“This hits extremely close to home,” said Turner, who went on to describe the call as emotional and difficult. “Right now, we are focused on salvaging and protecting any valuables.”
The Couillards’ two daughters, Olivia and Isabella, were also not home at the time. Their cat and dog were inside the house but were rescued in time, Turner said.
The fire’s cause and total damages are not yet known.
Several hours passed before the fire was completely knocked down. Before crews could begin putting out the fire on the second floor, the roof caved, making it unsafe for members to move freely, Turner said.
Crews accessed a fire hydrant on the street corner in front of the home, making it a quick transition once firefighters arrived on scene.
“I’m just in shock,” said Rae Couillard, who was surrounded by her friends, sister, mother and other family, including their fire family.
Rae Couillard’s brother-in-law, another Milton firefighter, flagged her down at a local gas station. He heard word 81 Overlake Dr. was on fire, but they sped to the scene anyway to find that instead, it was house No. 82.
Jeremy Couillard was away in Boston on business but headed straight for Vermont once receiving the news, Turner said.
Tuesday’s fire brought back memories of Rae Couillard’s Grand Isle childhood home being struck by lightning when she was 2. The bolt of lightning evolved into a fireball, said Pauline Clark, her mother.
Thirty-five years later, Rae Couillard experienced another fire, this time an address she and Jeremy have called home for 13 years.
“She loved that house. It was just perfect. And it’ll be perfect again,” said Clark, in reference to the rebuilding to come.