North Fairmount family grateful to be alive after escaping fire - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

North Fairmount family grateful to be alive after escaping fire

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email|Facebook

NORTH FAIRMOUNT, OH (FOX19) - Fire destroyed a family's home in North Fairmount in the pre-dawn hours Monday on Sutter Avenue.

The family barely made it out alive from the second story roof of their burning home.

This was definitely one of those stories with a miracle ending. The Brooks family is counting their blessings and happy to be alive. Their neighbors made a chilling 911 call, when they looked outside and saw the house next door, with flames shooting out the front door.

"Is everyone out of the house ma'am?" the 911 dispatcher asked.

"No!, they trapped, they trapped on the roof!" screamed Takeitha Johnson.

"C'mon jump! Jump! C'mon jump!" you could hear Johnson yelling on the recording, urging her neighbors to jump from the second floor.

"I heard like a boom sound," Johnson said. "Then I heard glass breaking, on the side of the house and I thought someone was trying to break in my house through the basement."

Back-up, only minutes earlier, Anthony Brooks wife Ebony, had just gotten back from the restroom and closed their bedroom door.

"She laid down and she said, baby did you hear that?" Anthony Brooks said.

It was the sound of their windows bursting downstairs as the front end of their home erupted in flames.

"I never would've thought it was a fire destroying the house and about to kill us all," he said, still in disbelief he'd made it out alive.

They too thought someone was breaking in to their house.

"So, I went to my bedroom door, which was closed and soon as I opened the door," he said. "Whoooosh!, just a backdraft and I just knew the whole house was on fire, we couldn't get down the steps."

He said the smoke was suffocating, still, he, his wife and daughter all made it out a window to the roof just above their front porch.

"You never would think something like this would happen to you," Brooks said. "To where you and your family is one the roof of your house and you got flames at your back."

He said they could heard the neighbors yelling through the thick, black smoke.

"And they're screaming are you alright, are you alright?," he said.

"They was on the roof and they was screaming 'help!'," Carress Johnson said.

"And we're screaming help! Help! Help! And fire and smoke shooting out the house like crazy," Brooks said.

All three of them had to jump about 20 feet down. Dad went first so he could help catch the other two.

"And when she jumped down she had held her face and she fell head first," Carress Johnson said, as she saw Mrs. Brooks leap from the roof.

Their daughter Jazilyn jumped last and landed on sharp glass. No one could see anything.

"It was like this wide and this long in her feet," Carress Johnson said, making a motion with her hands to show how large the shard of glass was.

Caress comforted the young woman, while EMT's removed the piece from her bloodied foot.

The incredible Heat melted the siding on the Johnson's house next door and on a 'No Parking' sign near the street.

Behind their home though, potentially the real hero in this story.

"That's Buddha the big one," Anthony Brooks said, pointing to one of three dogs in his fenced-in back yard.

Their dog Buddha's incessant barking is what woke everybody up in the first place. He may be the family's four-legged, guardian angel.

"God is everybody's guardian angel over here," Takeitha Johnson said of her neighborhood. She was just glad everyone got out safely.

Anthony Brooks said he is exhausted, going back and forth between hospitals. From Children's, where their daughter Jazilyn was, over to University Hospital, where his wife Ebony is still a patient. Jazilyn has since been released.

The Red Cross and the Brooks' church is helping them to find a new place to stay and helping with the care of their three dogs.

It's also amazing their neighbors were not hurt trying to help in all the smoke, since both of the Johnson women are asthmatics. 

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