A 22-year-old man preparing to leave home to serve in the Army helped his grandparents and their two dogs escape from their burning home Thursday night southeast of Brownstown.
Skylar Thompson said he was on his computer working on some courses for the Army at about 11:15 p.m. at the home he shares with his grandparents, Robert, 65, and Wanda Holman, 59, at 2063 S. State Road 39.
“I got up to get a pop out of the refrigerator and smelled smoke and ran outside real quick,” Thompson said.
He said he saw smoke coming from his bedroom at one end of the one-story modular home and ran back inside.
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“I went back inside and opened the door, and it was fully engulfed,” he said of his room.
That’s when he woke up his grandmother, who was asleep in the living room.
Thompson then went to the master bedroom and woke up his grandfather.
“I was just trying to get everybody out,” said Thompson, who was scheduled to leave home for the Army on Friday.
After getting his grandparents and their two dogs out of the home and to safety, Thompson called 911, according to a news release from Kevin Settle, a reserve officer with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department. That was at 11:22 p.m. Thursday.
Brownstown Volunteer Fire Department personnel responded to the fire near the junction of State Road 250 and State Road 39 and were assisted by volunteer firefighters from Driftwood, Grassy Fork, Jackson-Washington and Crothersville-Vernon townships. Jackson County Emergency Medical Services personnel also were on the scene.
The home where the Holmans have lived for 26 or 27 years was destroyed by the fire, and the couple lost most of their belongings.
Robert Holman said Friday morning it was a good thing Thompson was awake at the time.
“By the time we got out of there, it was full of smoke,” he said. “It’s gone.”
Robert said everyone, including the dogs, got out, and that’s all that mattered.
He said firefighters believe the fire was probably caused by an electrical issue.
The last firefighters left the scene at about 5:30 a.m. Friday but were called back at 7:30 a.m after the fire rekindled.
According to the Jackson-Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department’s Facebook page, one firefighter was taken to the emergency room for possible smoke inhalation.