From Kawartha Lakes This Week:

Mark Ross not only escaped a serious house fire, but serious injury as well after jumping out his bedroom window.

The Argyle resident awoke Monday night to a house filled with smoke and realized he had to get out of his upstairs bedroom - fast.

"I went to bed around 10:30 p.m., and when I woke up the room was full of smoke. I knew the only way to get out was to jump out the window."

Mr. Ross believed climbing down the old TV antenna just outside his bedroom window was the only way out. He said he threw open the window, climbed out and grabbed for the tower.

"I grabbed for the tower, but I missed and fell (one-and-a-half storeys to the ground)," he said. "I had breathed in enough smoke that it was hard to get out."

Mr. Ross said he landed on his feet, then fell on his shoulder and side. He then managed to get to a neighbour's home to call the fire department.

"I called just before midnight," he said. "They came pretty fast - in about 15 minutes. I felt a lot better after they [the ambulance crew] gave me oxygen. I wasn't hurt badly enough to go to the hospital, but I'm a bit sore today."

Kawartha Lakes Fire and Rescue Service division 15 from Woodville was first on scene at 178 Glenarm Road and found a serious blaze raging on the lower level of the little wood-framed home. The Oakwood and Kirkfield divisions also responded. Twenty-six firefighters performed what assistant chief Ron Raymer described as "an interior attack to knock down the fire." They managed to bring the blaze under control about 40 minutes later, but the first floor of the home was destroyed.

Asst. chief Raymer said Mr. Ross was "very fortunate."

"He was given oxygen at the scene by the ambulance crew and luckily was not injured from jumping out the window," he said. "The smoke was extremely heavy, and he would have been in a panic to get out. We managed to contain the fire to the living room, but it could have been a very bad fire; much worse than this."

Asst. chief Raymer said the fire appears to have been started by an electric space heater placed too close to a chair in the living room. The charred remains of a smoke detector were found Tuesday morning as the investigation continued.

Damage to the house is estimated at $110,000, not including $40,000 damage caused to contents. Smoke damage is described by the deputy chief as "extremely heavy."

Asst. chief Raymer again emphasized the importance of working smoke detectors, saying Mr. Ross likely would not have made it out of the house had he inhaled smoke for much longer.

"He's very fortunate," he said, adding it would only have taken a couple more minutes before the smoke would have overcome Mr. Ross.