Local News

Neighbors Rescue Grandmother and Child from Burning House

Posted January 14, 1999

— Flames spread through a Cumberland County home late Wednesday night, trapping a 73-year-old woman and her 8-year-old granddaughter inside until two neighbors rescued them.

Martha McMillian uses the only energy she has left to look at what remains of the only home she's known for the last two decades.

McMillian and her eight-year-old granddaughter Katrina were trapped in a front bedroom when the two men came to their rescue.

Katrina says she had broken a little bit of glass out of the bedroom window before one of the neighbors finished the job for her.

The neighbors pulled Katrina out of the window, but Martha was still stuck inside.

Martha's son knows how lucky his mother was the neighbors acted so quickly. "Even if [Katrina] had gotten out, she couldn't pull my momma out of the window. Once she had hit the ground over there, she'd have never pulled her out of there," Marshall McMillian says.

With only seconds left before the whole house was engulfed, Joe Smith and Jason Chavis saved Martha.

"I grabbed up on her arm and he grabbed the other side and we went to go pull her. The window is high so we couldn't pull her out. We got her up on top of the window and we pulled her out," Chavis explains.

Martha's back was cut on the broken glass, but she knew her neighbors saved her life.

"I think he's wonderful. I think he's beautiful and he sure did save our lives," Martha says.

Authorities don't know what started the fire, but they believe it was an accident.


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