MAPLE HEIGHTS, OH -- One couple is thankful they sleep in a bedroom on the second floor of their home. That's because being upstairs early Monday morning may have saved their lives.
Police tell FOX 8 News a driver blew through a stop sign at E. 141st Street and crashed into the first floor of a home on Rockside Road just before 2:30 a.m.
Officials did not say how fast the car was going.
The couple who lives at the home did not want to be identified. Firefighters rescued the homeowners; the couple's dog and cat were also safely brought out of the house.
"The pets were upstairs with them. They had to have a ladder to get down," said Sandy Johnston, a neighbor.
The first floor of the home was completely gutted and the stairs were smashed after the driver plowed through the front door.
Initially, the people who lived inside didn't know what was happening, but called 911.
"Something happened to our house, I can't get out of the bedroom. I think a tree fell on our house, I can't tell," said one of the homeowners during the call.
A few seconds later, they realized a vehicle was inside.
"We have a car in the house, we've got a car in the house, in the window," the caller said.
"You heard the crash, the car was all the way in the house," Johnston said. "It was terrible, it was such a loud noise," she explained.
Once everyone inside was rescued, it was time to evacuate nearby neighbors because of a gas leak due to the crash. It took crews about an hour to dig up the sidewalk and locate the valve.
"We all had to be evacuated to the fire station because there was leaking gas," Johnston said.
On Monday afternoon, the family who lives in the home sifted through their belongings, getting out everything they could salvage.
"Best wishes for the family and I hope the family comes out okay," said Don Lawrence, a neighbor. Police said the driver in the crash was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center with minor injuries. Maple Heights police have not released any more information about the suspect.
This isn't the first time a car has crashed into a home on Rockside Road. A neighbor tells FOX 8 the same thing happened right next door within the last several years.