AUGUSTA, GA. (WFXG) - Margarete Herrington, 63, was watching TV with her space heater on when a sound sent fear through her heart. Her 69-year-old husband, Tommie, was away at dialysis treatment.
“And I heard something said ‘pow’ and I looked down and the cord was on fire," Herrington recalled.
She got out of her chair and into her wheelchair and tried to put it out.
“And then it got bigger, the fire got bigger and I ran to my kitchen in my wheelchair, trying to open the fire extinguisher but I didn’t know how to use it," Herrington said.
That didn’t stop her. As the flames grew, she hurried to open her front door and screen doors - but they wouldn’t budge.
Herrington explained, “Kicked the screen door, because it seemed like it wouldn’t open. I said ‘well, I’m getting out of here!’”
Luckily her neighbor of more than 40 years, 79-year-old Carolyn Weeks, was looking out the door for her grandchildren and heard Margarete screaming for help.
That neighbor’s daughter, Wanda Weeks. pulled Margarete out the house.
Augusta Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Chris Reid said the fire was caused by a short in the power cord.
“When somebody uses a space heater, you need to make sure that you have it plugged into the wall. You don’t need to run it off an extension cord.”
He also said the battery inside the home’s smoke detector was dead. He’s thankful she got out safely.
“Good thing that she kept her head about her. She knew she needed to get out and she went to the door. When it provided an obstacle, she made her way through the door and got out the house. She did exactly the right thing,” said Battalion Chief Reid.
Herrington said, “Thank you Jesus, Thank you God. Thank you, I’m saved!”.
The Battalion chief said now is a good time for you to check your smoke detector, change the battery regularly and practice evacuating your home often. Also, never plug your space heater into an extension cord.
The Red Cross was called and is assisting them.