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Long Island Varsity Football Coach, Family Escape Fire Unharmed

Mark Wojciechowski Credits 7-Year-Old Daughter With Saving Everyone Inside
Sachem East High School varsity football coach Mark Wojciechowski outside his burned home in Farmingville, NY on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Sachem East High School varsity football coach Mark Wojciechowski outside his burned home in Farmingville, NY on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

FARMINGVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The beloved varsity football coach at Sachem East High School said he feels “blessed” despite the fact that a fire destroyed his Farmingville home.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

Mark Wojciechowski, 44, stood before his gutted house on Wednesday fighting back tears. He and his wife and one of their daughters were fast asleep when flames overtook the home. He is well known as “Wojo” in this community, a dean and social studies teacher at Sachem North High School and a beloved football coach over at Sachem East. His students and fellow teachers rushed over to offer help after the raging overnight fire destroyed everything at the South Howell Avenue home, CBS 2′s Carolyn Gusoff reported.

“This is a very special family,” schools superintendent James J. Nolan said in a statement. “They model love, values, ethics, humility, generosity and compassion each and every day. Despite this horrific tragedy, they remain humble, caring, appreciative and thankful.”

“Sachem is such a special community and Mark is really engrained in the community,” English teacher Joe Zarzycki said.

“Mark has a heart of gold and has done so much. The community will rally around him because of what he has done for the community,” social studies teacher Tom Cestaro added.

Wojciechowski, his wife, daughters and his 17-year-old nephew managed to escape the inferno unharmed. Wojciechowski said if not for his daughter, Mia, who will celebrate her 7th birthday on Thursday, they might all be dead.

“She was screaming, I went into her room, opened the curtain to the window and there were flames on the outside of the house,” Wojciechowski said. “She was the hero. She saved the whole family, even the dog. I feel blessed.”

kids Long Island Varsity Football Coach, Family Escape Fire Unharmed

Undated photo of Gabrielle (L) and Mia Wojciechowski. (credit: Handout via Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Little was saved from the house Wojciechowski was born in, but one former student managed to retrieve a decade’s old football trophy. The coach was once the Suffolk County player of the year and now mentors younger athletes.

“It’s about family doing the right thing, so when he needs something I try to be around because he has given me so much,” Jay Mauro said.

For now the family is staying with relatives and is grateful for the outpouring of offers of help

“I can’t say enough about my friends,” Wojciechowski said.

Five fire departments responded to the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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