MIDDLETOWN, Ohio – An unattended candle is being blamed for the loss of a house in Middletown Sunday afternoon, but a 4-year-old is credited with preventing loss of life, neighbors report, when he woke up the adults in the home.
"The whole couch was on fire when I woke up,” said Sherri Gentry, the mother of the four-year-old. “So it was within seconds that we got out in time."
Gentry, her son Brayden, and an uncle escaped the blaze at 2103 Crescent Blvd that occurred about 3 p.m., according to Middletown’s fire department.
"They were just getting up from a nap, the way I understood, and (the mother) was getting up and (her son) nudged her and said, 'mommy get up...' (The mother) said the next thing she knows, the candle is gone," said Kimberly Carroll, a neighbor.
Brayden's great-grandmother was also proud of her great-grandson.
"I'm very proud of him," Brayden’s great-grandmother said. "He done the best thing he could have done by waking up his mommy."
When crews arrived the residents were already outside the home and flames were engulfing the house. It took about an hour to subdue the blaze.
"I walked out to the front of my house and the home was fully engulfed in flames," said John Heck, another neighbor. “Windows were breaking and popping. So, yeah it’s very traumatic of course for them and scary and makes you go and recheck your own fire safety measures for your family.”
One person was taken to an area hospital for minor smoke inhalation.
Damage was estimated at $50,000 and officials said the house is a total loss. The houses on either side of the blaze also received siding damage due to the intense heat.
"Thank god that [the fire department] was there with their quick response," Heck said.
The fire department has not released the name of the family. The American Red Cross is assisting the family.