WICHITA, Kansas – Wichita firefighters helped salvage a home Monday morning and then saved Christmas for a family of four.
It was an early morning surprise, no one wishes to receive.
“It woke the whole house up. We got the kids up and got them out of there. We tried to put water where we could, but it was just too much,” described the homeowner, Shakeitha Scales.
Smoke and flames coming from an attic in the house awoke Shakeitha and the rest of her family around 5:00 a.m.
“My whole kitchen, my front room and my dining room, all of that is destroyed,” Scales explained.
Wichita fire crews arrived at the home within minutes and after making sure everyone inside the house was out safe, firefighters went back to retrieve something else, Christmas presents.
“It’s not lost on our guys what time of year it is and when they see things like this is this type of fire situation then we can take steps to try and save those things,” stated Wichita Fire Chief Stuart Bevis.
At least a dozen wrapped gifts were salvaged from the burning house. Although thousands in damage was done this morning, the spirit of Christmas will continue to live on in a Wichita family’s home this holiday.
“I call them heroes. That’s what they are. I’m just grateful for them. They come and do their job, they do what they’re supposed to do and they make sure they do it right,” said Scales.
“We’re very happy we could save their presents, but the really big thing is life comes first and the smoke alarm alerted them. They found the issue, got the family out and then we were able to come and do our job,” Chief Bevis explained.
According to Wichita fire officials, there is about $30,000 in damage to the home and about $15,000 in damage to contents, making the home unlivable.
The Scales family is forced to find somewhere else to celebrate the holiday. However, Shakeitha tells us she’s grateful to have her family safe and all together for the holiday.