Elderly Augusta woman and son escape burning home

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News 12 at 11, June 24, 2007

AUGUSTA, GA-- An elderly Augusta woman and her son are alive tonight after escaping from a fire that destroyed their mobile home.

The fire was called in at lunchtime today at 317 Carmell Place, in the Rocky Creek Mobile Home Park off of Milledgeville Road.

Virgina Harris and her son Carl Rowland made it out of their burning home just in time and after a short hospital stay for smoke inhalation,
they say they are lucky to be alive.

"Thank God He let me get out. It was His will because i could've been burned up in there." says 70-year-old Virginia Harris.

The fire destroyed her home and seeing it for the first time since escaping it in flames was difficult.

"I myself don't understand it but god had reasons for it to happen." says Harris.

"We just lost everything." adds her son Carl Rowland. He is Harris' oldest son and was asleep in his bedroom when he awoke to his closet up in flames.

"If I'd slept a little longer, I'd be gone."

Rowland says his first instinct was to run to the kitchen to see if his mother was burning something, but by then, the kitchen was the only room in the house not on fire.

That's when the both realized they had to get out, fast.

"I turned around and all i could see were just flames coming into the kitchen and smoke overtook me, and I just couldn't understand it. I still don't understand it." says Harris.

Fire investigators believe the fire started in a hallway of the home near Carl's bedroom. Right now they think it was caused by electric wiring and not anything suspicious, but that brings little comfort to the victims.

"He's pretty shaken up because he lost everything and has to start all over at 50 years old." says Carl's brother Ronald Rowland.

But younger brother Ronald and the rest of the family say they will see that both Harris and Rowland pull through

"Makes you think about things that are important like the people, the material things can be replaced." adds Karen Rowland, Harris' daughter-in-law.

The family did have one working smoke detector, but it was on the opposite side of the house from where the family was at the time. Fire investigators say it's a good reminder to have a working smoke detector on both sides of any home.

Harris and her son are being helped by the Red Cross.

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