Father saves wife, 3 kids from house fire

The man jumped from a second story window and instructed his wife to throw the children to him; the fire is suspected to have been caused by an electrical issue

The Free Lance-Star

STAFFORD, Va. — He could only think one thing: His family wasn’t going to die tonight.

Joey Amos was tossing and turning in his bed around 5 a.m. Monday, half-listening to the movie playing in his home on Randolph Road in the Ferry Farms neighborhood in southern Stafford County. Then he smelled something familiar, a scent he knew well as an electrician. It was the smell of electrical wires burning.

He wandered around the upstairs hallway, but there was nothing to explain the smell. Then he opened the living room door downstairs and smoke billowed out.

“The whole downstairs was full of thick smoke,” Amos said.

He checked a nearby door, but it was sealed for the winter. He then hoisted his 2-year-old from her downstairs bedroom bed and threw a blanket over her head.

“I had my daughter, my baby in my arms and was just running up the stairs thinking, ‘I’m not ready to die,’” Amos said. “By that time, the living room was halfway on fire. The smoke was so much thicker and I had a hard time breathing. It’s just like God was there with me. That’s the only way to explain it.”

He woke up his wife, Amber, and the two older children who were all sleeping in his bed.

He led them all to a smaller room attached to his bedroom and kicked the screen out of the room’s window. The children clung to their parent’s legs, murmuring, “Mommy, daddy.”

Amos climbed out and told his wife that he was going to jump down, and she was going to throw the kids down to him. Before she could respond, he took the 20-foot leap down, fracturing his right foot, spraining his knee and breaking the tip of his nose. Once he got to his feet, he looked up for his children. His wife didn’t hesitate.

Amos caught the 2-year-old first, followed by his 6-year-old son.

Amber was about to throw their 4-year-old middle daughter out the window, but the ceiling behind her was already on fire and smoke started to envelop them.

Holding her daughter, Amber jumped to the ground, hitting Amos and sending all three tumbling.

“Flames were coming out of the window as soon as my wife jumped out,” Amos said. “If I had waited a minute longer ... made any mistake ... it would have ended a totally different way. We are so very lucky.”

The family ran across the street to the neighbor’s house. The children escaped with only minor cuts, bruises and burns.

“It’s just so raw. I’m so thankful that she had the courage to drop the kids out to me and then jump out herself,” Amos said.

But two calico cats, Cali and Snickers, perished from smoke inhalation. The family’s Chihuahua, Baby Girl, couldn’t be found, Amos said earlier this week.

The fire marshal hasn’t officially determined the cause of the fire, but Amos says he knows what happened.

“I know that smell. I know it was an electrical issue,” Amos said.

The 1950s-era house had been having electrical problems recently, especially during the snowstorm, Amos said. The family had lived there only a year.

Copyright 2016 The Free Lance-Star
All Rights Reserved

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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