TUSCUMBIA — A woman trapped in her burning house Monday morning was freed when a firefighter kicked in the front door to rescue her amid a choking cloud of thick smoke.
The woman, Paige Gray, was near the front door at her 304 E. First St. residence but couldn’t get out because it was jammed, said her husband, Ben Gray.
She was not seriously injured. She was taken to Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield, according to reports.
“She was locked inside and couldn’t even get out of the door,” Ben Gray said.
Iron bars cover the doors and windows of the house.
Fire Chief David Cole said Paige Gray was treated for minor smoke inhalation.
She wasn’t the only one in the house. The Grays’ 4-foot long ball python also was in there, but was not harmed.
Tuscumbia firefighters received the call at 8:41 a.m., Cole said.
Paige Gray placed the 911 call and told operators she was trapped inside, authorities said.
Upon arriving at the scene, firefighter Bert Johnston ran to the front door.
Johnston said when the 911 call came in, the operator said the woman was on the phone and near the front door but couldn’t get out because the door was jammed, so Johnston knew he needed to get to the door first.
Johnston ran up the hill leading to the residence, kicked in the door and was met with massive smoke.
“The smoke overcame me when I opened the door, so I stepped back to get another breath of air and as I was getting ready to go back in, she ran out the door,” he said. “She was still on the phone with 911 but the (emergency medical technicians) got her and took over care for her, so I went to the back of the house to start fighting the fire.”
Firefighters extinguished the blaze, which started in the utility room in the back of the house, Cole said. He said the fire apparently started in the clothes dryer.
Heavy smoke was visible for several blocks from the house, which is across the street from Howard Chappell Stadium at Deshler High School.
Ben Gray was gone when the fire broke out. He had already left the house because he was on his way to New York for a job with his company.
He received a call about the fire and rushed back home.
“When you hear your wife’s stuck in the house with no way out, that’s scary,” Ben Gray said.
After the fire was extinguished, Ben Gray retrieved their python from the house and placed it in a sack. He said he has had the pet, named Bob, for about six or seven years.
Bernie Delinski can be reached at 256-740-5739 or bernie.delinski@TimesDaily.com.