17-year-old saves woman's home

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

FLINT, TX (KLTV) - The drastic drop on the thermostat led one East Texas woman to put her fireplace to work. But, little did she know, by trying to light the fire, she almost lit up her home. It happened Friday around noon at a home on Cass Street in Colony West subdivisions in Flint. If it wasn't for the quick thinking of an East Texas teen, that house may have become rubble.

"Yea, good job," said Jeff Malloy, a volunteer firefighter. "You slowed it down a lot."

Michael Smith, 17, was minding his own business, working on his car outside of his grandparents home, when he noticed something strange coming from his neighbor's house.

"I saw the flames shooting out of the top of the chimney," said Smith.

So, he ran over, knocked on the door and let her know what was going on.

"I told her that her house was on fire, and she goes, 'No, I have a fire going,' and I told her, 'No, the flames is shooting out of the top of the chimney.'" said Smith.

He told her to put the fire out in the house so maybe the flames would die down. But it didn't help.

"I went back to working on my truck, and I looked back and it got worse," said Smith.

So, he sprinted back toward the house and took matters into his own hands.

"All I did is jumped up this part of the fence, stood on top of the fence and climbed the roof," said Smith. "She came outside and handed me the hose, and when she did, I drug it all the way up to the top and started spraying it in the thing."

"And, then I got up in the attic with my water hose and blacked it out," said Malloy. "Then, everybody else showed up."

"Typically, this time of the year, we get a lot of chimney's that catch on fire, and heating ducts that catch on fire," said Cory Thatcher, a lieutenant with the Flint Gresham Fire Department. "They've been sitting all year long, nobody's used them, and they haven't been properly cleaned from the year before or just dust has settled in them."

Smith says he has always wanted to be a fire fighter. This time, he was.

"Makes me feel really great because you know these are expensive houses," said Smith. "These are nice houses. Everybody's got their belongings, and I just hope somebody would do the same for me."

The fire department had to tear the chimney apart and clean it so that this doesn't happen again. The couple that owns the home has two young kids, but they were at school. No one was injured.

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