Local/State

Disabled man escapes from burning home

Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Keith Norris A disabled man escaped from his burning Johnston County home overnight before it was completely destroyed.

A disabled man was able to escape from his burning Johnston County home overnight before it was completely destroyed.

The fire broke out around 1 a.m. at a mobile home in the 600 block of Tettersville Road in Four Oaks.

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Keith Norris said he was folding clothes when the blaze started in his living room near his recliner and quickly spread.

Norris said he tried to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher and water, but fell out of his wheelchair.

"The fire just got so big, I couldn't do nothing," he said. "Then I fell."

Norris, who had his leg amputated in January, was able to get back into his chair and out of the house in time thanks to a ramp that was recently installed by his church.

"So then, I felt the doorknob to get outside," he said. "I just hollered and hollered and hollered 'Help,' but I knew probably there's no way anybody (could) hear me. That's when I took off down the path."

He then went a quarter of a mile down a dark dirt road, wearing only a pair of shorts, to the nearest home to call 911.

"That was in itself a miracle that he made it down there," neighbor Glenn Barbour said. "It would have been hard to push him down there. He's a man, to push himself down that path, whether it was adrenaline or something. Because I don't believe I could do it if I had to!"

Norris was not injured in the fire, but was exhausted and taken to the hospital.

During an interview with ABC11 hours later, Norris broke down after seeing the blaze that burned his keepsakes - like locks from his daughter's first haircut.

"Her baby hair until she was in preschool, all the way until she graduated ... my two boys, all of its gone," he said.

Norris is now staying at his mother's house.

Members at the First Baptist Church of Four Oaks have moved Norris' wheelchair ramp from his gutted home to his mother's house.

In the meantime, authorities said they are still investigating the cause of the fire, but so far have found nothing suspicious.

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north carolina news, johnston county news, fire, local/state
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