Mother gives first-hand account of escapePublished 11:05am Monday, July 8, 2013
Dee Hunt didn’t even have time to grab shoes before she and her 7-year-old daughter ran out of their burning downtown apartment building Sunday night.
The two were getting ready for bed at about 10 p.m. after returning to their apartment from a day at a friend’s lake place. Hunt said she smelled a little smoke after getting home but thought it was coming from the grass fire they had seen on the other side of town.
Hunt didn’t know anything was wrong until she was startled by a banging on her door just minutes later.
“The hallway was filled with smoke,” she said. “I couldn’t even tell where the fire was coming from.”
The fire was located on the northside of Lincoln Avenue between The Spot and Attitudes for Hair and started about 10 p.m. Sunday. After grabbing her daughter, Hunt and two other tenants pounded on the door of the only other apartment unit in the building before running outside. As Hunt watched smoke pour, she received word from her landlord that the tenant living in the fourth unit was not in the building.
“I’m just glad we all got out,” she said through tears. “We lost everything, but my biggest concern was to get my daughter out.”
Hunt and the others called 911 shortly after 10 p.m., and emergency vehicles began to arrive within minutes.
“It’s the fastest I have ever seen them respond to anything,” she said.
As the fire burned on into the morning, all Hunt could do was watch.
“Everything I own is in there,” she said as she gazed at the fire. “Right below where that big flame is.”
Even after 3 a.m., she stood shoeless watching frequent flare-ups destroy more of the building.
“It could have happened in the middle of the night when we were all sleeping,” Hunt said. “The main thing is that everyone got out alive.”