Syracuse basketball star's home goes up in flames during tournament game
Fire breaks out while Hamilton family watches March Madness
A Syracuse University basketball star was playing in a NCAA basketball tournament game Saturday night when his Hamilton home caught fire.
Flames began shooting through the roof of the Cutler Road home of Mandy Carter-Zegarowski, the mother of Michael Carter-Williams, at about 10:15 p.m.
Carter-Zegarowski, who was at the March Madness game in California, said she got a call about the fire from her husband at halftime, but had to keep the news from her son.
"He saw me get upset from a timeout and he started asking me what was wrong and he was mouthing to me 'What’s wrong?' and I just waved to him that nothing was wrong, but he knew," said Carter-Zegarowski.
Carter-Williams' stepfather. Zach Zegarowski, and younger brothers had been watching him play in the tournament game against the University of California when the fire broke out inside the home.
"It went from bad to worse," said Zegarowski. "Two minutes, that’s all we got, we had to be evacuated from the house."
In California, an academic adviser noticed that Carter-Zegarowski was upset and asked her what was wrong.
"I had to pull it together and I knew he had to finish the game strong," she said. "I knew if he thought I was upset, he would be bothered by that so I said to tell a small white lie and say that my dad, who’s in a nursing home, had a bad night."
Firefighters had a difficult time dousing the flames because of heavy smoke but were able to get it under control after a couple of hours. They believe the blaze started in a wood stove outside.
On Sunday, Carter-Williams tweeted, “Thanks for the prayers everyone. All that’s important to me is my family is OK.”
The tournament was played at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Fourth-seeded Syracuse beat the 12th-seeded Golden Bears 66-60.
"Everything can be replaced, but we built this house and my kids were raised in this house and all of their pictures and stuff is gone which is hard," said Carter-Zegarowski.
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