A house fire would’ve likely had a much darker ending Sunday had one passerby not made a wrong turn.
Brendon Birt was driving in Red Oak, Iowa, last weekend, when he mistakenly turned down the wrong road — an error that, in retrospect, seems quite miraculous.
It was moments after he turned down the incorrect street that Birt noticed the house fire. He told KETV-TV he “just felt like somebody was in there, because it was so late at night.”
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“I just knew that I had to act quick,” he said. “Every second that was going by was just getting worse.”
So the good Samaritan began pounding on the front door, yelling, “Fire!” to anyone who might have been inside. As it turns out, Birt’s instincts were right: there were four siblings inside the house, each unaware of the fire quickly consuming the home.
Moments after Birt started banging on the door, three of the kids — ages 8, 14, and 17 — ran out as flames engulfed the front porch of the house in southwestern Iowa. Soon thereafter, the kids’ 22-year-old brother ran through the front door, too.
“They came out the door [and] I just felt like I just wanted to break down and cry,” said the passerby.
Without Birt’s harrowing act, the kids likely would not have survived the blazing inferno, because the smoke alarms in the house failed to go off. The eldest sibling, Bryce Harrison, told KETV-TV he woke up to “an oven of heat and flames on the front wall.”
His younger brother, Christopher Lehman, said, “Everything was just black in the living room.”
The children’s parents were out of town when they were alerted to the fire — and the horrifying news that their kids were still inside the house. The mother, Tender Lehman, is forever indebted to Birt.
“My kids wouldn’t have made it, man,” she said. “They’re safe because of him. I mean, lives were saved here.”
Unfortunately, five of the family’s seven dogs were killed in the house fire. Please be in prayer for the family as they process through the loss of their pets and home.
Praise God all the children are safe and healthy following the tragic incident. If you would like to contribute to a GoFundMe set up for the family, you can do so here.
The cause of the fire has not been identified. The Red Oak Fire Department said it is still investigating.
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