Paralyzed woman saved by firefighters in north Harris County

Mycah Hatfield Image
Sunday, November 10, 2019
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WATCH: With tears in her eyes, the woman's mother thanked first responders and her city for their help during the emergency.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Firefighters battled a two-alarm fire early Sunday morning in north Harris County.

Authorities say it took more than an hour for crews to knock out the flames at Rankin and Ella.

Firefighters used about 12 trucks to put out the blaze. Several apartments were damaged, but there were no injuries.

Toni Kessee was at work when she got the call that her apartment was on fire. Her main concern was her adult son and her adult daughter who is paralyzed.

"Everyone's got to get out," Josh Runyon said he thought to himself when he realized his building was on fire. "There are families with children right next to us, there are elderly people, there are people who are wheelchair bound. I'll lose all my stuff three times four times over and sleep like a baby knowing I got these people out."

Fortunately, neighbors, including Runyon, and firefighters were able to break down the door to her apartment and get them out unharmed.

"If anything would have happened to them, I wouldn't know what to do," Kessee said crying. "I feel bad, because I wasn't there to get them out."

She and her family are staying in a nearby hotel until they can find somewhere to live.

Kessee said her phone has been ringing non-stop all day with complete strangers on the other end of the line trying to find out how they can help her.

"I thank everybody whose calling me, donating clothes, shoes and a hospital bed," Kessee said. "I thank them, because I don't know what we would have done, how I was going to get all this stuff."

Other families in the building have small children. They escaped with only the clothes on their backs.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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