A Murfreesboro family is thankful to be alive, after an early morning duplex fire, and they are crediting their neighbors with saving their lives.
Vincent and Yvette Batts, 2573 Concord Court, was asleep when the fire started around 12:40 this morning.
Their next door neighbor Regina Trice-Jones was jolted awake.
"I looked out the blinds and I saw fire," Trice-Jones said. "I said oh my God, James (McKnight) wake up, wake up, the house is on fire."
She ran next door and started banging on her neighbors door.
"My neighbors were beating on my door," Batts said. "I didn't know what it was, I thought someone was breaking in; so I got up and looked out back."
The back of his duplex was on fire. It quickly started to spread to the eaves and attic.
Batts, his wife and dog were able to get out safely. Neighbor, James McKnight tried putting out the fire before firemen arrived.
"The meter was just on fire," McKnight said. "It was going right there from the meter going up the side of the house. My thought was to get water, and start dousing."
"He was actually throwing water on the electric box back there, and he almost got electrocuted because you don't suppose to be putting water on that," Batts said.
Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department's District 8, Ladder 6, and Engine 1 responded to a "fence on fire", according to a media release from spokesperson Ashley McDonald.
McDonald said when crews arrived; heavy black smoke and flames were visible.
"The crews knocked the fire down quickly, and extinguished hot spots. The unit received fire, heat, and water damage, but crews were able to contain most of the damage to the back side of the unit," shift commander Dale Maynard said.
Fire officials later said the fire "appears electrical and accidental in nature."
Batts said, there she's noticed problems with lights flickering, and when she turned on lights, the bulbs would blow.
"Every time I went into my kitchen and flick my lights on, they would blow," Batts said.
She said she replaced so many light bulbs that she lost count.
"I called my landlord, I told her there is something wrong with my kitchen lights," Batts said.
A handy man was sent to repair that problem, according to Batts.
"But it moved in the bedroom," she said. "When I went to my bedroom, and turned on the lights, the bulb would blow."
That's why she said she's not surprised that the duplex caught fire early this morning.
"That's where it started, from the box outside," she said.
The Batts said the smoke detector didn't alert them of the fire.
"That should have woke us up, but it was my neighbor," Batts said. "If it wasn't for my neighbor, we would have been dead right now."
It turns out it wasn't a smoke detector at all; it was actually a carbon monoxide alarm.
"That's probably why it didn't sound," Batts said.
Both families are thankful things didn't turn out much worse.
"Fifteen or twenty minutes or so later, the whole house on the other side would have gone up and travel all the way across to our side," McKnight said.
"It could have been worse if God hadn't woke me up," Trice-Jones said.
The Batts said the landlord did have home owner's insurance, but they didn't have rental insurance.
The family was displaced, but Red Cross is assisting the family. They will be staying in a hotel the next few days until they find another place to go.
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