JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family members say a child playing with a lighter may have started a fire that ripped through a house Thursday morning in the 5100 block of Timuquana Road and sent a 58-year-old man to the hospital.
According to Jacksonville Fire-Rescue, six children and a woman got out of the burning home unharmed, but firefighters had to rescue Dennis Mohundro (pictured below), who was sleeping in a back bedroom.
He was taken to Baptist Medical Center.
"I kept trying to get to the back of the house and I couldn't," said Christy Chambers, who escaped the fire while trying to rescue her father. "I got all the kids out the front door and the side door, and I couldn't get back there."
Rescuers said Mohundro is lucky to be alive.
"When they got him out of the house, he was breathing but not very well," said Chief Donald Blanton, of JFRD. "They obviously had to hit assisted breathing for him when he got into the back of the rescue unit. It honestly, it looked like it was going to be a grim situation. We just recently called the hospital and we couldn't believe our ears that he was actually sitting up talking. So they did a good job."
Mohundro's loved ones say they are forever thankful for the brave firefighters who went in the home and got him out.
"I'm 100 percent grateful for them," said Carl Brantley, Mohundro's stepson. "I would have lost the man that's been there for me all my life."
JFRD is investigating and the Red Cross arrived at the scene to help the family, which has been displaced from the damaged home.
The house is now in bad shape, and most of the family's stuff is ruined.
"They lost everything but they still have each other," Brantley said. "That's something to build on."
Anyone who would like to help the family can donate at VyStar Credit Union, account No. 702949706.