WILSON, N.Y. (WIVB) — A father and his young son are hospitalized after their home in Niagara County went up in flames. Fire officials are trying to figure out an exact cause, but say the home is a total loss.

Just before midnight, crews responded to the house fire on Harbor Street in Wilson.

The fire had fully engulfed the home, but the three people who lived there were able to get out.
The father, 35-year-old William Whitmore, was taken to ECMC, where he’s in serious condition in the hospital’s burn unit. The son, 5-year-old Wesley, was taken to Oishei Children’s Hospital before being transferred to Strong Memorial Hospital for his burns. He is in critical condition. The mother, 41-year-old Jeanette, was not injured and officials say she is currently with her son.

“[The fire] happened quickly, and injuries could’ve certainly been worse. We’re pulling for the father and the son, that are in the hospital,” said Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti.

Eileen Neison, lives down the street from the fire. She’s gotten to know the Whitmore family over the years, because their daughter works at her business, Brownie’s Custard Stand.

“They live just a few houses down. They’re here all summer long. I’ve watched Wesley, the little boy, grow up since we’ve been here, and their daughter has worked here for three years,” she said.

Neison felt compelled to start raising money and donations for the family. Almost immediately, other local businesses in the village offered to help.

“Wilson is very much a close knit community and all the businesses trying to come together, everyone is like, ‘What can we do?’ It wasn’t surprising to me,” she said.

“To lose all your photos, your clothes, your memories, I can’t imagine what the family is feeling,” said Greg Stenis, who co-owns Brownie’s. “So we just wanted to step up and help and this is a great community for stuff like that, everybody comes together.”

Knead the Dough will be collecting monetary and physical donations for the Whitmore family. They are located at 3678 Ransomville Road in Ransomville.

Three dogs were rescued and are currently in the care of neighbors. Donations of dog food can be dropped at The Cookie Cottage located at 257 Young St. in Wilson during their normal business hours.

It’s not clear what started the fire, and a property damage estimate was not available, as of Thursday morning.

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been created in response to this incident. You can donate here.

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