Atlantans Handling House Fires

Several Metro Atlantans have recently experienced close calls when it comes to house fires. Read on and then stayed tuned tomorrow for crucial information you and your family need to know about house fire safety.

Four Alpharetta women are thanking their lucky starts that Steve Kehoe came along when he did last month. The Connecticut teacher was staying with his mother-in-law at a three unit townhome along Memories Drive off Rucker Road when, on July 21st, he returned to find a that a backroom had turned into a blazing inferno.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Kehoe had been out house hunting and had returned home at about 12:30 p.m. that Tuesday to drop off some papers. The AJC reported that:

“He walked in and saw the back room engulfed in flames, he said. He immediately began shouting for his wife Jane and 80-year-old mother-in-law Jeannette Westbrook.

His wife, who was working in another room, ran outside with the dog. But Westbrook didn’t answer, he said.

Kehoe said he became frantic and began searching the house. He found Westbrook upstairs in the shower.

Kehoe rushed the elderly woman outside and began knocking on doors.

By this time, the fire had spread into the attic and two neighboring units. The windows had burst out and the entire townhouse was engulfed in flames, he said."

Emergency officials credit Kehoe with saving the lives of our women, his wife and mother-in-law, and two women from a neighboring unit, one of who is in a wheelchair.

“I’d say it’s quite possible he saved their lives,” Alpharetta Police spokeswoman Jennifer Howard told the AJC. “He diverted from what he was doing and really didn’t know why. Call it sixth sense or whatever you like, but if he hadn’t walked in that door when he did, things could have turned out very differently. We’re just thankful everyone got out OK.”

The fire was under control by 3:30pm, but at last report there was no word yet on what had caused it the blaze.

Early last Sunday, a Marietta man managed to escape a blaze that destroyed his two-story home. The fire, at a home on Craig Court, was reported when a newspaper delivery person noticed the flames. While firefighters battled the inferno, 911 officials received a call from a disoriented man who said he was inside the home. Firefighters were doubtful that anyone could survive, but the lucky man managed to make his way out of the house and leave the hospital later in the afternoon with only minor injuries.

Not all Metro Atlantans have been so fortunate this summer when it comes to house fire safety. A Duluth woman recently died after becoming trapped in a burning house. While house fires are often associated in the popular mind with winter time and faulty heaters, house fires can occur at any time of the year. Stay tuned tomorrow for the facts that you and your family need to know about house fire safety.