DeKalb County family escapes fire thanks to stranger

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A DeKalb County family says they have a stranger to thank for saving their lives. Their house on Redan Road caught fire Thursday evening.  The family says they made it out safely thanks to a man who was walking by and saw the flames. 

Terry Campbell was inside the house with his brother, Corey and his nephew, Justin.  "I hear a banging on the door, the doorbell ringing, people are banging. There was a guy who said the house was on fire," said Campbell. 

Campbell says he didn't smell smoke or see any flames.  "I go out there and look, it was blazing, just blazing, there ain't nothing you can do," said Campbell.

"It was blazing up by the chimney and went down to the attic," said Corey Campbell.

The damage is extensive.  The wall of their den and outer walls of two upstairs bedrooms are gone.  Still, the family says they feel fortunate. "I feel great. I have my life. I got my brother and my nephew here, so we're good," said Terry Campbell.  

They say they owe their lives to an observant stranger who just happened to be walking down the street and saw the flames. "An angel, he was my guardian angel today," said Terry Campbell. 

Dekalb Fire Rescue Capt. Eric Jackson says they expect to see more fires in the next several days as the weather gets colder. Capt. Jackson says for those planning to use their fireplace to stay warm, be sure to have it inspected by a professional.  "A chimney sweep will look at it from top to bottom and make sure it's clear of any animals or birds that may be hiding in there and more importantly the creosote which builds up inside the chimney," said Capt. Jackson.

Capt. Jackson says only use hardwoods in the fireplace.  "Pine has a sap in it and once you cut into it the sap gets into it and it burns very hot very fast, plus it causes build up quicker," said Capt. Jackson.

Capt. Jackson also says it's a good time to make sure the fire alarms work, everyone knows where the fire extinguisher is, and the family has an escape plan.