N.Y. fire station crew gives stranded family shelter, joy on Christmas weekend

Firefighters at Buffalo's Engine 4 firehouse assembled a small Christmas tree with lights and put toys under it for a Fla. girl, 5

By Mark Sommer
The Buffalo News

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Spending Christmas weekend at the Engine 4 firehouse in South Buffalo isn't what the Saint-Vil family expected.

They'll never forget it.

Edens, his wife, Denora, and 5-year-old Juliana of Fort Meyers, Fla., were near the end of a harrowing trip Thursday night through Pennsylvania with little visibility.

"This storm was one of the worst things I've ever experienced because of its whiteout conditions," Saint-Vil said. "I drove for two hours not being able to see anything, but you didn't really want to stop in the middle of the road."

He turned off the highway in South Buffalo, only to get stuck on Abbott Road. After waiting nearly an hour, a couple of men helped push the car out around midnight. They went half a mile farther, only to get stuck about 20 feet from where an ambulance was stuck in deeper snow.

The family members sat in their 2018 Nissan Rogue for another two hours trying to decide what to do next. Finally, at 3 a.m., Saint-Vil stepped out into the snow and walked to a firehouse and knocked on the door. He started to leave when no one answered, but turned around to bang harder.

That's when the Haitian-American family met their new Engine 4 friends.

The firefighter who answered the door listened to their plight and welcomed them in.

The family spent the rest of the night and all day Friday and Saturday eating and lounging with the firefighters before getting back on the road at 6 p.m.

Juliana was given a tour of the shiny red fire truck.

The firefighters assembled a small Christmas tree with lights and toys under it for Juliana.

"That was amazing," Saint-Vil said.

The family never made it to Riverside and headed to Middletown, Pa., instead, to see Edens' family.

"I definitely appreciate the firefighters for all that they did," he said.


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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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