Mother Recalls House Fire, Children's Rescue
Posted July 5, 2007 6:41 p.m. EDT
Updated July 5, 2007 9:09 p.m. EDT
Roanoke Rapids, N.C. — Two children came home from the hospital Thursday, two days after they were pulled from their burning Roanoke Rapids home.
Landon Poole, 10, and Emerson Poole, 4, suffered from smoke inhalation, but their mother said they were lucky to be alive.
"My children's bedrooms are gone. They wouldn't have lived if they slept in their rooms," Amy Poole said as she stood outside the gutted home on Blue Water Court.
The children were sleeping downstairs Monday night because the house's air-conditioning unit wasn't working.
The fire started upstairs, near the children's bedrooms. Authorities haven't pinpointed the cause of the fire yet, but they said they think it was electrical in nature.
Amy Poole said she woke up early Tuesday to find smoke filling the house – the smoke detector never went off – and when she saw flames outside her bedroom, she woke her husband, Ray, and tried to find the children.
"We couldn't see each other because of the smoke. It was very, very thick," Poole said, recalling the terror she felt as she and her husband frantically searched for their children.
She said she tried to lead them out, yelling so they could follow her voice. She said she eventually found her way to the back door, with her husband following her.
"My children were still hollering and screaming at me, and they never came out the door," she said.
When the children stopped screaming, she said she went back into the house.
"I got on the floor – ran through on the floor like crawling – and my daughter was at my bedroom, passed out on the floor," she said. "I brought her out. As soon as I got her on the porch, she started choking and coughing, so I knew she was alive."
But she couldn't find Landon. Ray Poole tried to break a window to get in, but firefighters arrived at the house about the same time and rushed inside.
"I was screaming and crying, and I didn't think he was going to come out," Amy Poole said. "I pretty much knew that if he didn't, I didn't want to live either."
Firefighters Nick Hite and Chris Clements of the Davie Volunteer Fire Department found Landon unconscious inside and carried him out.
Clements happened to live down the street from the Poole family and knew the children. Hite was hours away from his first shift as a Roanoke Rapids Fire Department rookie firefighter.
Family, friends and neighbors are helping the Poole family recover from the fire.
"We have a whole lot to be thankful for," Amy Poole said.