"I met her at grange, theoretically. She was a mermaid on one of the shows." For David Madore, 50 years of memories with his wife keep flooding back, like the day they got married. He said "By Mother's Day, i asked her and then we got married in October."
Today, he's still in shock over the sudden, tragic loss of his wife, Donelda, who died early Saturday morning in a fire that swept through the top floor of their Freeport home.
Pam Madore, victim's daughter-in-law, said "The back of the house was their bedroom."
Madore woke to the smell of smoke. "I yelled at her. I woke her up and says 'Donne, get the 'h' out of the house.' I said 'we're on fire.'" He added "As soon as she opened that door, it was all black. We couldn't see nothing going out."
Madore said his wife suffered from diabetes and had trouble walking. "It was her hips. She couldn't move much." he added.
He says he helped his wife to the top of the stairs and told her to follow him out. But he stopped to yell to his son and daughter-in-law in the basement to get out.
"I thought she went behind me, come down behind me. But she didn't." said Madore.
"He didn't see her when he got back to the stairs. So he assumed that she had gotten out. When he got to the car, he realized she wasn't there. And he tried to go back in to get her. Tried to go back in twice and the smoke was too bad. He just couldn't do it." Pam Madore thinks her mother-in-law was overcome by heavy smoke.
"She kept saying 'I can't see. I can't see.' And he was trying to tell her to feel her way around. But I think she was just so disoriented. She just couldn't make heads or tails where she was."
A responding police officer also tried to save her, but by then the entire living room was on fire.
A bird did survive, but the family still doesn't know if any of their three cats made it out.
Donelda Madore was 68.
"She was a great grandmother to my daughter and a good mom, a great mom. And she was very loved by everybody that knew her." concluded Pam.
The Red Cross is assisting the family. Funeral arrangements are still being made.