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Father and son in “fair” condition after hospitalized with severe burns

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CANTON — A father and son who were hospitalized with severe burns after escaping a fire that destroyed their town of Oswegatchie home before dawn Wednesday have seen an improvement in their condition.

Craig A. Legault, 44, and his son Carson, 4, were transported to Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, with second- and third-degree burns after a fire that started on their front porch in the early morning hours quickly tore through the home, leaving a family of eight homeless and killing a number of family pets.

Upstate Medical reported Thursday that the father and son improved from serious condition to fair overnight.

The fire, which was ruled an accident by the St. Lawrence County Fire Investigation Team, was a result of a small heat lamp being used on the front porch to keep some new puppies warm, fire investigator W. Joseph Lacks reported.

After Mr. Legault was unable to extinguish the fire himself, he ran back into the burning house and up to the second floor where his son was sleeping. When he made it back to the front door with his son in his arms, and with the smoke and fire too strong to exit, he wrapped the boy in a blanket and did the best he could to protect him while exiting the rear of the house.

Mr. Legault’s wife, Shawna, was treated for smoke inhalation and released, while five other family members escaped unharmed.

Family, friends and first responders, including Heuvelton First Assistant Fire Chief Nick B. Friot, have been calling Mr. Legault a hero for his actions.

“For anybody to go back into a burning building without any protective gear at all, you’re a hero,” Mr. Friot said. “I can’t imagine what it would have been like for him. I know what it is like for a fireman, with all of these fancy tools, but for him to go back into the house in his pajamas at 4 a.m. after just waking up, that’s a hero.”

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