MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO (KPLR) – An 85-year-old man is lucky to be alive after he was able to escape a massive fire at his Maryland Heights home.
"I remember lighting striking the house and the whole house shook and instantly after it struck, the house filled up with smoke" said James Fortune, who has lived on his family's property for most of his life. "All I could do was get to the door and crawl out. And when I got outside the door the police got my arm and drug me all the way from the house" he said.
"It’s a miracle, yes" said Bob Rauss with the Pattonville Fire Protection District. "Especially walking with a walker and to be able to be alert and hear the smoke detectors and act quickly to get out of the building" he said.
Rauss says the cause of the fire remains under investigation. Weather is a factor. While Fortune was able to make it out of the house, nothing else did.
"My my whole life savings, I built the house with my own hands" Fortune said. "It’s hard for me to see my house burn up and I raised all my children here" he said.
Still he is grateful to be alive and now with quite the story to tell.
"Yes it was quite, quite scary, yes it was" Fortune said. "But thank God I made it out and I didn’t get burnt, I didn’t get hurt... but I got out" he said.
If you would like to help Mr. Fortune, a gofundme account has been set-up.