Local News

Son Recalls Fight To Rescue Mother From Blaze

Posted November 2, 2006

— The son of a Johnston County woman attempted to rescue his from her burning house, but his efforts failed. Now he's dealing with the loss of both a parent and his childhood home.

A smoke alarm awoke Frank Jones and his family, including his 77-year-old mother Lorraine, early Monday morning. The front section of the family's home was engulfed in flames as Frank Jones' sister rushed their elderly father out through the back door.

Frank Jones said he tried to help his mother out the front door. But just a few feet from safety, debris crashed down to the floor.

"The debris hit me and my mother, knocking us down, and it knocked me right through the wall," Frank Jones said.

He landed on the front porch, with his mother trapped inside.

"I could hear my mother asking me for help, but at that time I wasn't able to really grab her," he said. "I was still on fire myself."

Frank Jones couldn't see his mother through the heavy smoke.

"It was burning my eyes, but I was still trying...trying to search," he said.

Flames and fallen debris blocked the path back into the house.

"(As) far as I ever made it was at my mother's foot, and at that time I pulled," Frank Jones said.

But more debris fell, and he lost his grip. That's when Lorraine Jones, a woman of strong faith, began praying aloud.

"My mother was real strong," said Frank Jones. "She said it was OK. She said, 'I know you cannot save me, but its OK.'"

Frank Jones never gave up. But when firefighters arrived, they found his mother's body nearby.

"To lose your mother and be in the sight of her it really hurts," he said.

Frank Jones said he knows he did all he could. His sister and father made it out alive. They lost everything in the residence, but they said they have friends and family to lean on.

"I'm a little bit stiff and sore, but other than that, I thank God to be living," he said.

Investigators said they believe candles may have started the fire, but Frank Jones said he thinks an electrical outlet is to blame. Lorraine Jones' funeral service is set for Saturday.


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