A fire that gutted a home on Fleming Street Extension in Laurens Monday afternoon could have been more tragic if not for the actions of a teenager and good neighbors.
According to reports, neighbor Brianna Plaia helped an elderly woman from the home, while husband Kris Plaia rescued a dog from inside the house and another from the backyard.
“I called 911, and then threw my phone down and ran across the street,” Brianna Plaia said. “When I got there, there was smoke all in the living room, and the older lady there was trying to put the fire out. I just put my arms around her and drug her out of the house.”
Meanwhile, Kris Plaia had circled to the back of the house and rescued one dog from inside the house and another that was chained to a tree in the backyard.
“I dragged her all the way to the road because the windows were popping out because of the heat, and I was worried about getting hit by glass,” Brianna said.
Units from the Laurens Fire Department responded to the blaze, and were on scene minutes later.
“It was amazing how fast they got there,” Brianna said.
Laurens Fire Chief Bill Hughes said the woman living at the home was on oxygen, which could have sparked the fire, and partially disabled. She was treated by EMS first responders and transported to the hospital where she was treated for smoke inhalation.
“I haven’t spoken directly with her but she told EMS that a neighbor came in and helped her out of the house,” Hughes said.
The victim’s teenage granddaughter ran for help when the house caught fire, Brianna said.
A cause of the fire has yet to be determined but the home suffered significant fire, smoke and water damage, Hughes said.
“The roof is still there but the fire gutted one room, so there’s heavy fire damage, and the rest is heavy smoke and water damage,” he said.
Four people, including the elderly female victim, her husband, a son and the granddaughter were living in the house, Brianna said.
The two surviving dogs are staying with the Plaias until the family is able to care for them, she said. Another dog, Daisy, was in a back room and was killed in the fire.
“I feel very fortunate that God placed us there at the right place at the right time,” Brianna said. “Honestly, I feel like it’s something anybody would do. I didn’t have time to think about it. I just reacted and I think anybody in that position would’ve done the same thing.”