Syracuse player's house up in flames as team advances

Posted: 03/24/13 at 6:30 pm EDT      Last Updated: 03/24/13 at 7:03 pm EDT

HAMILTON, Mass. (WHDH) -- Family members rooted on Michael Carter-Williams and the rest of the Syracuse basketball team as they advanced to the Sweet 16, but they were caught off guard by a house fire that started while they were watching the game.

“They were in the living room, watching the game,” said Jennifer Carter, Michael Carter-William’s aunt.

A late tip in California for Hamilton's Michael Carter-Williams, a sophomore guard for Syracuse.

Back at home, a few family members and a former coach sat down to watch the NCAA tournament game when a fire broke out on the other end of the house.

“It was bad, it was from one end to the other of the house and it just didn’t stop. It was for hours,” said Carter.

All four people home got out unharmed, as the fire spread into the attic.

“It was small, it was just going up the side of the building, but it did move quickly,” said Rick Atwater, neighbor.

The deputy chief says the fire was so stubborn, they had to pull crews out of the house on two separate occasions, when they went in for a third time, they found the hoses they left behind became part of the damage.

“This had the attic well consumed and there were some challenges for us, some hidden spaces in the attic that made it difficult for us to get to see the fire,” said Dept. Chief Kirby Bland, Hamilton Fire Department.

Firefighters from several north shore towns spent hours putting out the flames.

On the other side of the country, the basketball game was just underway when Carter-William's mom, who was sitting behind the Syracuse bench got a call that her home was burning.

“I think it was the most devastating thing. I think Michael saw her reaction. My sister was fairly close to the court so I’m sure he was worried about her, she was worried about him, she was worried about the family,” said Carter.

It's unclear when Carter-Williams learned about his house. He led Syracuse to victory, and to the Sweet 16.

Sunday morning, Carter-Williams tweeted: 'Thanks for the prayers everyone. All that’s important to me is my family is okay.'

“It’s horrifying. Everything is ruined,” said Carter.

In addition to the fire damage, there's smoke and water damage throughout the 3-story home. Carter-William's aunt says irreplaceable items earned through his young career are now gone.

“He had a lot of stuff that can't be replaced ever, you know, his McDonald's All American jerseys, those types of things. We made sure we got the trophies out, and those types of things that were salvageable,” said Carter.

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