Stranger saves woman's life after body consumed by flames


News 12 at 11 / Sunday, April 6, 2014

Augusta, Ga. (WRDW) -- An Augusta man is dead and a woman is still in the hospital after 70% of her body is consumed by flames. Family members says the stranger who saved, Karla Harter's life, is a hero. News 12 spoke to the victim's daughter who says things would've been worse had it not been for the heroic act of a stranger, she now calls a life saver.

"If it had not been for him I would've been left here alone," Britany McGee told News 12, as she talked about the man she says saved her mom's life.

"God used me to help someone, so I just give God all the glory," said Detrich Cooper.

Cooper was visiting family in the Crawfordville Drive neighborhood when he ran to, 46 year old Karla Harter's, burning body.

"By the time I got over there her face was burnt-- it was gone. I had to put her hair out and her body was on fire-- I put her body out," he told News 12.

"She's got a long way to go, but she's here and that's what matters," McGee told News 12, as her eyes filled with tears up.

McGee, is Harter's daughter. She says at least 70 percent of her mom's body is burned, but things would've been worse.

"She's my life and to have that taken, or almost taken away from you, really opens up your eyes to the fact that it could really happen to you," she said.

Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened. They have confirmed that 51 year old, Henry Jefferson III, died and say the call came in as a structure fire. Still no official word on how Jefferson died or what caused Harter to catch on fire, but Cooper says she kept yelling something out.

"She said her boyfriend poured gas on her and set her on fire," he told News 12.

Even though questions remain on how everything went down at the Crawfordville Drive home, McGee says she knows one thing for sure, her mom is going to need help.

"A lot of treatment, a lot of therapy, a lot of prayer--she's got a long road to recovery," she said.

Family members say Harter is a war vet, who served in Desert Storm. They say it's hard to understand how something tragic like this could happen here and not in a war zone.


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