A local woman ran into a burning building to help save a grandmother early Thursday morning. "It was pretty scary. It was really dark. It was really smoky. It was very very hard to breathe," said Shannon Johnson. She was texting a friend when she heard about a possible fire at 3911 Saint David's Church Road in Fort Valley. "I tried to gain access to the house on the side where most of the smoke was, and I wasn't able to get in because of the fire. So, I ran around to the front of the house, jumped over the gate onto the deck, and helped Betty get Lucy out of the house," said Johnson.
Johnson is talking about Betty Stephen's 80-year-old mom, Lucy, who can't walk. Tony Stephens is her grandson.
"I was hoping that when I got here, it wasn't as bad as they said it was, but it was clearly bad," said Stephens. He lives in Luray and he said knowing his grandparents might have trouble getting out, made his drive over unbearable.
"So, I had to drive across the mountain, and I got to the turn, and I could see the blaze and the smoke. The street was lined with fire trucks and rescue squad," Stephens said.
Johnson doesn't like to call herself a hero, but the family who lives in Fort Valley does. She said she couldn't have done it without the help of others. "I've been on a lot of scenes of fires and helped with the rehab of fire fighters and been involved with the investigation. I've never been the first on the scene and actually had to help with the rescue," said Johnson.
Both she and Stephens said working smoke detectors also helped save the family from tragedy. "If they didn't have them, I would have gotten a call saying that all three had passed instead of, 'there was a fire.' It would have been awful," said Stephens.
"I'm a big advocate of making sure you check those smoke detectors and put batteries in them every six months and make sure they're in good working order because they save lives. This is a God honest visual of how well that works," said Johnson.