By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -
Firefighters rescued a 3-year-old child who was trapped inside her bedroom in her burning home Monday morning.
The family of five is safe but recovering after the fire started just before 7:30 a.m. at their home near East 44th Terrace and South Osage Street.
The children's father is thanking his neighbors and firefighters whose heroic efforts saved his children.
Fire officials said a mother woke up about 7:30 a.m. Monday to a smoke alarm going off in the upstairs part of the house.
She was able to get Thomas, 4, and 23-month-old Logan out, but firefighters had to go inside to get Savannah from her back bedroom.
The children's father, Aaron Johnson, had just finished an overnight 12-hour shift and was driving home when his wife frantically called him.
"My wife calls me to say, 'The house is on fire and I've got to get the kids out!' And she hangs up," Johnson recalled.
He called 911 to make sure that dispatchers told firefighters that his children were trapped inside and they needed to get to the house immediately. He said he was "white-knuckled frantic" during the drive home.
Neighbors tried to get Savannah out by kicking in a bedroom window, but the smoke was too thick for them to venture inside.
"As soon as crews got here, they took a thermal imaging camera inside," Battalion Chief Chuck Perry said. "Because of her good instructions, they were able to get firefighters down the hallway and find the child and bring her out."
Savannah suffered smoke inhalation, but because her bedroom door was closed, it stopped some of the thickest smoke from entering the room. She was taken to Children's Mercy Hospital for treatment.
The baby of the family, Logan, suffers a heart condition that causes breathing problems. He was also treated at Children's Mercy as a precaution.
Christina Johnson was hospitalized after suffering smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning, but the woman is expected to make a full recovery.
The fire started in the basement; however, the smoke detector downstairs wasn't working.
Officials say faulty wiring in the dryer started the fire.
Aaron Johnson is grateful to his neighbors and the firefighters for their heroism. He said his family has much to be thankful for.
"Whew, it was an emotional morning," Aaron Johnson said. "I can't say anything more than thanks for being there when I couldn't by risking their lives to help my kids. You can't buy friends like that... And I can't thank the firefighters enough for helping out when I couldn't."
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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