Local News

Harnett neighbors bring Christmas to family ousted by fire

Posted December 25, 2010 3:21 p.m. EST
Updated December 25, 2010 6:59 p.m. EST

— Fire damaged a home in Harnett County on Christmas Eve, forcing a family of four to spend their holiday with neighbors.

Flint Elsik said he was taking a bath at about 9 p.m. when he smelled smoke. He jumped out a window and circled his house to get his two daughters, ages 1 and 2 to safety.

He said he relied on his military training to get to them.

"They train us to be able to still concentrate on the mission," he said.

As he struggled to breathe, Elsik pulled the girls from their bedroom window.

The children were not injured, but Elsik spent the night in the hospital being treated for smoke inhalation. Elsik's wife, who was not home when the fire started, and the girls spent the night with neighbors.

Elsik, a soldier assigned to Fort Bragg, is home spending the holiday with his family. He said he hadn't had a chance to set up the Christmas tree, and all the family's presents were destroyed in the blaze.

"I'm just thankful to be alive," he said. "I'm thankful my daughters are alive."

Neighbors on Glengarry Lane were gathering toys to preserve Christmas for his daughters, Elsik said.

"The spirit of Christmas is here today, I'm telling you. Every neighbor in the whole community is pulling together for them," said Gary Tyner.

Investigators were looking into the cause of the fire but had not determined what started it.