Woman badly injured saving brother in Pontiac house fire
PONTIAC, Mich. (WJBK) - A young woman is seriously hurt after rescuing her brother from a burning home. The family was already dealing with another tragedy when this one happened.
Errol Purnell says he was lying on the floor while his family's home burned down around him, thinking this is it.
"This is the way it is going to happen, this is the end of my story," said Purnell. His mom, sister and her 1-year-old son already made it out - because of Errol.
"I made sure all of them got out before me, I was trying to follow from behind and I got overcome with smoke and ended up passing out in the hallway," he said.
He could hear his family screaming for him to get out but he couldn't do it alone - and his older sister Charlene knew it.
"It was like we are either going to go together or we (were) going to die together," Purnell said. "She ran back into the house while it was up in flames like very badly and she pulled me out."
They collapsed on the front lawn, not remembering much until they were taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital, both on life support in rooms next to each other in the burn unit.
"She's the one that got it the worst for coming back in to save me," he said.
Charlene's baby was severely burned, but will be okay.
Errol is recovering from burns. He's just getting his sight back and his voice is damaged from treatment. His sister remains on a ventilator, slowly improving. They lost everything in the fire, including a family pet.
"I can't do anything but thank God and just cry it out," he said.
Another layer of sadness is that they lost their step-father to cancer last month.
"We just buried our father not even three weeks before the fire happened," Purnell said.
Their focus now is getting Charlene better. He says what she did that Sunday morning is nothing but unconditional love.
"She risked her life to save me it's an overwhelming experience," he said. "It's true love."
This family has lost absolutely everything, including both of their cars that were parked in the driveway when the fire happened. They have set up a GoFundMe page, which you can donate to here.