LANCASTER — A Garrard County family had some bad luck early Monday morning — and some good luck as well — when fire broke out in the living room of a house at 11497 Richmond Road. A 3-week-old baby was among the family of five who escaped without injury.
“We got the call at 7:37 and responded along with District 1 in Kirksville,” Assistant Chief Dean Vencil of Cartersville and Paint Lick Fire and Rescue said. “A fireman from Richmond, Byron Coffman, had just got off duty and was heading home. He happened to be driving by ...”
Coffman battled the blaze until fire trucks arrived but said he was just doing what he hoped somebody would do for him.
“I was just headed home and I came around the corner and I¿saw flames coming out of the front corner of the house. A couple of people had stopped by then. We saw what needed to be done so I got a hose from a neighbor, and we knocked it down,” Coffman said.
Vencil said a family member put a log on the fire about 6 a.m. and went back to sleep. An ember from the wood stove apparently caught a chair on fire, and the smell woke the household in time to take the children who were sleeping upstairs outside.
Vencil said there did not appear to be any structural damage to the wood-frame house, only smoke and water damage. Krystal England and her family lived in the house, according to WLEX-TV.
“They were lucky someone was on the couch and by the fire when the smoke started,” Vencil said, “because there was not a working smoke detector in the house at the time and there were kids sleeping upstairs.”
While firefighters worked, Coffman did one last thing for the family.
“I saw the woman with the two kids out there in the cold and gave them my coat,” he said.
The big yellow coat with reflective tape?
“Yes,” he said and laughed. “The fireman coat.”