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Neighbors help woman escape her burning house

On Saturday, the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Service responded to a fire on Iron Hill Road in Dearing after hearing reports that someone was inside the house.

Upon arrival, they observed a single-family house with heavy flames in the rear and thick smoke billowing from the building, according to an incident report.

The occupant, Loretta Demmons, was safely outside.

Two neighbors, Jesse Embry and Jerry Curry, rushed to her aid, but they couldn't get the door open. One of the men climbed through the window, and they opened the door by pulling and kicking it from either side, said Assistant Chief Stephen Sewell.

Demmons, who uses a wheelchair, said she was on her way out of the house when her wheelchair tipped over, so she began crawling toward the door.

At that point, her neighbors were able to help her out of the house, along with her wheelchair.

"They were in the right place at the right time, and they did the right thing," Sewell said.

The firefighters then extinguished the blaze. Though the cause of the fire remains under investigation, they determined the area of origin to be on or near the rear porch, according to the report.

No injuries were reported, but the wood-frame house sustained extensive damage. It was left standing, but the inside was gutted, Sewell said.

Web posted on Thursday, October 20, 2011

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