Couple's 'chance' drive, quick action warns family of fire - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Update: couple's 'chance' drive, quick action warns family of house fire

ROSSVILLE, GA (WRCB) -- They live only blocks across the state line, in East Ridge.

But Terry Kilgore and Renae Holland can't tell you why they'd never ventured up Greens Lake Circle in Rossville until early Wednesday afternoon.

When it mattered.

"I thought, 'that don't smell right, that don't look right,' Kilgore says, describing the view as the couple's car passed James Burnette's home.

The smoke was rolling under the eaves along the home's back right corner.

"I hollered at her (Renae) to call 911, and ran to the door," he says.

"I figured being at the door was safe, long as he wasn't at the back of the house," Holland says.

"By then it was burning through, and was catching on fast," Kilgore explains.

Josh Cabbs was on a couch, nursing a migraine.

"I'd been smelling a weird aroma, like plastic burning or something, I didn't think much of it," Cabbs says.

Terry's knock would make the danger clear.

"I ran and got my Uncle out," she says. "He wasn't even aware of what was going on."

Josh would get his Uncle and mother out safely.

"By the time I got back around the door was actually shut, the keys were locked out, so I couldn't even get to the dog."

It would hit his grandfather, homeowner James Burnette, hard.

"My wife died three years ago, and that's about the only thing I had left of her," he says.

The fire's scope prompted the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office to notify Georgia Office of Insurance & Safety. Field investigators had not determined a cause as of Thursday afternoon, but they were leaning toward electrical appliance or wiring issues, according to spokesman Glenn Allen.

Burnette was expecting to talk with insurance adjusters Friday morning.

"I'm disabled, I can't work," he says. "My daughter has colon cancer, she can't work. I don't know what I'm gonna do."

He would meet Kilgore and Holland, off camera, Thursday afternoon.

"I thanked him and shook his hand," Burnette says. "Because they actually saved three lives."

If you'd like to help, there's an account at SunTrust Bank for James David Burnette and his daughter Christie Steele can be reached at 706-996-3130.

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