BELLEVILLE (KMOV.com) A Belleville family is giving credit to a stranger for escaping unhurt from a fire that destroyed all their belongings and the house they were renting near 80th and West Main Street.
"And I would just tell him that he saved me and my babies' lives,” said Pamela Franklin.
According to the Belleville Fire Department, the fire started around 6:30 p.m. on October 29, under the carport of the home. A man who claimed he was driving home and saw the flames, stopped to call 911.
News 4 obtained a copy of the call to emergency officials.
"911 what is your emergency?” said the dispatcher. “We're at 80th and West Main and there's a house on fire," the man said.
The flames grew quickly and the good Samaritan updated the 911 dispatcher about the changing conditions.
"Oh boy it's really going now,” the good Samaritan said. “Okay we have the fire department and police department on the way sir. I want you to move away to a safe distance, I don't want you getting hurt,” the dispatcher said.
But before getting to a safe place, the man knocked on a window to alert Franklin and her family about the growing fire that was spreading from the carport to the home.
Franklin said her husband helped their 5-year old son get out safely and she grabbed her 1-year old and 7-year old daughters to follow. But she says the flames had spread to the ceiling above the only doorway that she could get out.
“And I could feel the heat,” said Franklin.
The fire destroyed all the family’s possessions and two vehicles. Franklin said they’ve had some donations of clothes and are looking for a new place to live. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help raise money for them.
"Like we appreciate every cent, every penny, like everything. The GoFundMe is just to help us, help us rebuild our lives," said Franklin.
Franklin said before the fire, she’d never seen the stranger who stopped to help. He left before she got his full name.