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Troy family thanks neighbor for saving them from fire

Posted at 4:30 PM, Jun 23, 2018

A Troy family is praising their ‘guardian angel’ who sprung into action while fire was spreading through their home.

Dennis Hermani says the family was asleep at their home on the 3400 block of Wolverine Drive in the early morning hours of June 15th.

“I heard a doorbell ring,” said Hermani.

The knock was from a panicked neighbor, Diane Gjelaj.

“I woke up around 5am and happened to go into my kitchen and as I was walking into my kitchen I looked out of my living room window and I saw that something in the distance,” said Gjelaj. “Something just told me to go and check it out.

It just didn’t seem right. It didn’t make sense that somebody would be up that early burning leaves."

Gjelaj’s home is roughly 3 football fields away, so she got in a car and headed toward the flicker of light that turned out to be flames crawling up the back of the Hermani home.  Her banging on the door woke the family up.  All 6 people made it out alive: Hermani, his wife Marie, their 3 kids and Marie’s brother.

“We wouldn’t be here, there is no question. Her ability not to just be passive, but to be active and engage in the situation even though she didn’t know what it was, it’s the reason why there are 6 people alive today and you’re not doing a different story,” said Hermani.

Gjelaj says she isn’t comfortable with the characterization that she’s a hero.

“No no, not at all, definitely not. We are a strong community and we look out for each other and that’s all it was and thankfully they made it out ok,” said Gjelaj.

Hermani believes her actions were far more.

“She truly is, if she doesn’t want to be called a hero she will always be our guardian angel. I know that’s the way we will tell our kids and we’re going to make sure that she becomes a part of our family’s lives from now on because without her we wouldn’t have one, said Hermani. “We get to spend another day with our kids everyday is a blessing.”

The Hermani’s say they lost practically everything except the pajamas they were wearing.

This GoFundMe page [ https://www.gofundme.com/support-the-hermani-family ] has been setup by one of Hermani’s colleagues.