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October 15, 2002

Man Rushes Inside Family's Burning Home

from: KBCI, ID
Oct. 15, 2002

By Tonya Papanikolas


A Boise home goes up in flames Tuesday morning while a deaf woman and her two children were inside. The family says they owe their lives to two passers-by who rushed to help.

"Driving up from Cole Road, we saw it," says Tom Humphrey, one of the passers-by. "The whole back of the house was on fire."

Humphrey was on his way home at 3:00 a.m. when he noticed the flames. He says his friend ran to the door while he called 911.

"She was pounding on the door, trying to get in," he remembers. "And the door was locked, I guess. And so, she was about ready to break the window to the side, and then the kid opened up the door."

The 13-year-old son said two people were inside. So Humphrey ran upstairs and started looking through the bedrooms.

"I went to the second one, and there was a little girl," he explains.

After helping her out of the house, he then tried to find the mother.

"There was one door that was locked, so I started kicking on that door," he says.

But what Humphrey didn't know was that the mother was deaf - and couldn't hear him.

"I woke up about 3 a.m., and I saw the fire light from my patio door," says the mother, Virginia Womack-Kimbro.

She says, at first, she thought she was dreaming. But she soon realized the fire was real, and opened the door just as Humphrey was kicking it.

"You spooked me," she tells him, recalling what happened. "I almost had a heart attack."

Humphrey helped Kimbro out of the house. Once she realized he was trying to help her, she says one thing became very clear.

"He saved my children and saved our lives. We would have died in this house if he wasn't there to save us."

She continues with tears in her eyes, "Thank you, God, for him."

Humphrey adds, "I'm just glad she's okay."

Firefighters say it looks like the blaze started on the deck, but so far, they don't know how.

The Red Cross is assisting the Kimbro family with groceries and a hotel.

The organization says this is the seventh home fire they've responded to in the past three days, which is very unusual.

The Red Cross relies on donations to help give out disaster assistance. If you would like to make a donation to help families like the Kimbros, you can call the American Red Cross at 947-4357.

© 2002 KBCI TV