Local deputies save family trapped in burning home
CHICKAMUAGA, GA (WRCB) - A North Georgia family of three is alive thanks to the quick action of law enforcement officers. A fire broke out just before 4 a.m. Thursday at a home on South Forest Road in Chickamauga. Officers arrived to the scene before firefighters and were able to get the trapped family to safety. The sheriff says he's proud of their actions.
A Chickamauga mom called 911 pleading for help. She and her two young children were trapped on the second floor of their burning home.
911 Dispatcher: "Can you get out of the house?"
Caller: "I can't. It's downstairs, and I can't see anything downstairs."
The woman said she awoke to a loud popping sound and ran into her kids' bedroom as flames took over their escape route.
"Fire started in the living room area, extended onto the front porch and up into the attic space," Walker County Emergency Services Assistant Chief of Training Marlin Thompson said.
Dispatchers put out the call to all emergency responders, but firefighters were not the closest ones. In a moment that Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson says was "just meant to be," three deputies arrived at the house before even the fire truck, and immediately started helping.
"Assisted directing them to a clear window to the roof line. They were able to crawl out a window on the roof," Thompson said.
Then sheriff's deputies Shaun Carter, Zach Simpson and Josh Mathis helped the mom and two children down off the roof.
Sheriff Wilson explains they got their so fast because deputies are assigned to patrol different sectors and this house just happens to sit near the border of two sectors. That means there was an abundance of officers close by when the dispatch call went over their radios.
Walker County fire officials say initial findings suggest the fire started with a space heater sitting too close to a couch in the living room.
It only took the deputies four minutes to help the family down to safety. The homeowner talked to Channel 3 off camera. She said she and her children plan to go thank the deputies in person for helping save their lives.