CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A reckless act may have cost a Cleveland family their home. But, the quick actions of a neighbor may have saved their lives.
Roberta Kitchen is left stunned, saddened and in disbelief after fire gutted the place she has called home for 40 years. Kitchen and her son were asleep and had no idea their home on Olympia Road was on fire until neighbors banged on the door just after 8 a.m. Saturday.
"Nothing but the grace of God kept me and my son alive here, because the way this fire took off," Kitchen said.
Cheryl Allen was taking her husband to work when they saw their neighbors’ house on fire.
“They were asleep. The lady's on oxygen, and it’s all praise to my God Jehovah that we were able to wake her up, because the house would have exploded and they would have died,” Allen said.
Kitchen watched helplessly as the fire started out small and then quickly spread.
"The awning was on fire. Then, the next thing I know the whole house just engulfed. I have an oxygen tank in there. I understand that he blew. And, then the house just burned. Fire was just, was just coming from everywhere," she said.
This is a fire that Kitchen believes should not have happened.
Investigators told her someone shooting off fireworks in the neighborhood may be responsible for the fire that destroyed her home.
"They told me that the fire started from some type of missile from a firecracker that lodged itself in the awning and just spread," she said.
While Kitchen and her son got out safely, Fox 8 News was told two firefighters were injured battling the blaze.
Kitchen is devastated that she must now find a new place to live, but forever thankful to her neighbors.
"God forbid had they not woke me up. We would have died. To think that I would have died from a firecracker hitting my house; there's something wrong with that," she said.
Two firefighters were hurt while fighting the blaze, but officials say their injuries were minor, and they've both been treated and released from the hospital.