Diane Olson sat on the wall of a neighbor’s front yard just looking at the home she has known for all her life.
Wearing only her pajamas and a yellow bathrobe she wiped away tears as it was sinking in about a fire that took it all away.
Last Thursday night around 10:23 p.m., Winthrop Fire Department were called to a fire at 36 Wilshire St. Soon a second alarm was called and assistance came from Boston, Revere and Chelsea.
Olson said everybody was in bed, asleep in the two-family home when her adult son on the top-floor smelled smoke.
“He thought he was dreaming of smelling smoke,” said Diane Olson. “He saw that the house was engulfed in smoke. He went toward the back door and could see the fire coming up from the floor. Within seconds it was just one big ball of smoke. If it wasn’t for my son…”
There were working smoke detectors in the home and they also had an ADT monitoring system. Neighbors took them in for the night and they were hoping to get a hotel room.
“We had to get out of the house because the smoke was overpowering everybody,” Diane Olson said. “It took a long time for the firefighters to get the flames out.”
In the end the roof collapsed into the second floor and the second floor collapsed into the first floor.
Everybody escaped harm that included her husband Jon Olson, her son and his family. As the home was being boarded up firefighters had to return to combat a small area of flames.
“My mother and father bought this place when I was 8 years old,” Diane Olson, 69, said. “They lived here for 25 years. They moved out, bought a home in Lynnfield, and we rented the house from them. After my father passed my mother decided to sell us the house.”
“My husband and I have been married for 50 years and all those years we worked to be able to buy things one thing at a time. I had the house the way that I wanted it. Now we’ve lost it all,” Diane Olson said, adding that now she just has memories, memories of family gatherings, and her being an 8-year-old girl and coming to the house for the first time from East Boston.
“I remember it being very, very quiet,” she said. “Coming here was almost like moving to the country.”
“It was a home where everyone was always welcomed for a great meal, lots of laughs and of course, tons of love,” said granddaughter Tiffany Kirby.
A Go Fund Me Page has been set up for the family at GoFundMe.com/Help the Olson Family Fire Victims, and the Winthrop Golf Club has held a clothing drive.
The State Fire Marshal, as well as the Winthrop Fire Department, are investigating. At press time no cause had been determined.