Quick Action During Wilson House Fire Saves Five Children's Lives
Posted June 29, 2005
WILSON, N.C. — A fast-moving house fire sent members a Wilson family scrambling for their lives Tuesday as flames gutted the entire home in just minutes.
Jennifer Carroll said she was cooking, while her children were taking a nap, when a grease fire started on the stove. She and her fiancé raced to save the children, but got separated in the thick smoke and heavy flames.
"I was in the kitchen cooking and my five children were taking a nap," said Jennifer Carroll. "I went to the bathroom and when I came back, the kitchen was on fire."
Carroll said she then ran up stairs, grabbed her 2-year-old and ran out of the house; her 5- and 7-year-old children ran out with her.
"You couldn't see anything. There was a lot of black smoke," Carroll said. "There was a lot of fire and it looked like everything was in flames."
Carroll's fiancé, Antuwan Woodard, also ran upstairs to try to save her 3- and 4-year-old daughters.
"I was scared," Carroll said. "I thought my two daughters that were left upstairs were going to get stuck upstairs with Antuwan."
They did get stuck; Woodard grabbed the children, but could not find the stairs to get them out from upstairs.
"Once I turned around and saw nothing but dark smoke -- nothing but blackness -- I thought it was the end," Woodard said. Then, he found the bedroom window and managed to push out the air conditioner.
With the window being their only way out, Woodard said he had to drop the two small girls from the second-story window.
"They were scared, they were real scared," he said. "Anyone would be scared, to tell you the truth."
Carroll stood below as Woodard dropped the children into her arms. Then, with seconds to spare, he jumped too.
"As soon as I jumped out, all the flames came out the window," Woodard said.
Carroll's daughters went to the hospital with only a few bumps and bruises.
"If it wasn't for him, they probably would have died because I couldn't get back upstairs to get them," Carroll said.
Carroll's children are staying with family and the Red Cross is putting the couple up in a motel.