TURTLECREEK TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Matt Kraick never saw the person who saved his two sons from their burning home Monday afternoon: He was at work when he learned that much of his house had been consumed by a fire that started in the garage and then chewed through the remainder of the building, according to Turtlecreek Township Fire Chief Steve Flent.
Instead it was Kraick’s neighbors, stopping as they drove through the haze of smoke and falling ash on State Route 123, who saw the stranger attempting to put out the fire with a garden hose. It was too strong to be doused, however.
"It was engulfed," said Melissa Glover, who witnessed the incident.
When the stranger’s attempt to put the fire out failed, Glover said, they ran to the front door and pounded on it to alert the people inside.
If that person hadn’t acted, Kraick’s sons might not have been able to flee the house in time -- but they did, and the boys made it out safely. Kraick pulled into a neighbor’s driveway shortly after and ran over to hug his children.
By then, the stranger was already gone, he said. Kraick said Monday night that he was grateful for his family’s safety and hoped to meet the person who alerted his sons to the danger that had been simmering just a wall away.
"I’m still looking for that person," he said. "I want to make sure I get to thank them."
Much of the house was destroyed in the fire, as was a car, but Kraick said he wasn’t concerned about his belongings.
"That’s just stuff," he said. "Fire burns stuff, but it can also do a lot worse. It didn’t this time, so I’m just thankful that everybody’s OK."
Chief Flint said his crews were still investigating the cause of the fire Monday night.