12-year-old saves grandfather from devastating NKY house fire

Shelby Stephens says his grandson saved his life.

Man, grandson lose 100-year-old Falmouth house to fire

PENDLETON COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - People in the Falmouth community are applauding a 12-year-old boy after he saved his grandfather from a house fire last week.

The fire occurred off KY-22 near McGraw Road in Pendleton County.

Shelby Stephens says he’s lived at the house most of his life. Now there’s little of it left.

Stephens was asleep early Friday when a fire that started in the house’s wood-burning stove began to spread.

“He was on his phone at midnight,” Stephens said of his grandson, “which he shouldn’t have been — he should’ve been asleep — but if he had been, we’d both be dead.”

Stephens’s grandson abruptly woke him up.

“He said, ‘Pawpaw, there’s something wrong.’ He says, ‘It’s popping and cracking.’ I went in there real quick, and I thought, ‘Oh my,’” Stephens recalled. “I told him to get my phone and call 911. I tried throwing water at it, and it didn’t do no good.”

The fire burned quickly through the 100-year-old house. Several fire trucks battled the blaze, but the home was a complete loss.

Stephens has lived in the house since he was 5.

“It’s bad, because I’ve lost all my pictures, [of] my mom and dad, grandpa, and everybody,” he said. “Material things, you can replace. House you can replace. But you can’t with memories.”

Stephens has advice for those who use wood-burning stoves.

“Please watch what you’re doing with them,” he said. “Please don’t take them for granted. I went though the ’97 flood… I thought that was bad, but this was way worse.”

Stephens adds he’s had trouble sleeping since the fire because the outcome could have been much different.

“The other night, he decided to play on his phone… I’m glad he did… I’m not going to yell at him for it anymore.”

Stephens is staying with his brother right now. He plans to rebuild the house and hopes to have it complete by summer.

He says their dog and cat got out in time, but the cat ran away. If you see a cat in the area, let us know, and we’ll inform Stephens.

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