Subscriber Login

Saturday morning miracle saves family from fire

By John Estridge, Editor

A God-given miracle occurred on Saturday morning, Feb. 9, in Liberty at the corner of Campbell and Market streets.

Ronnie Wright and his wife, Melissa, had just purchased a really good mattress, a hybrid, part memory foam and part inner coil spring mattress, and he had been sleeping well for the first time in a long time. A construction worker and a perpetually early riser, Ronnie was thinking about sleeping in on that Saturday morning.

However, Ronnie's sinuses were stopped up to the point of being uncomfortable. He could not breathe. He knew if he sat up, his sinuses would drain, and he would be OK. The funny thing was Ronnie did not usually have problems with his sinuses.

“I have allergies,” Ronnie said. “I'm not a big sinus person. I get the occasional cold. That morning I had a sinus headache. I was totally clogged. So, I thought I'm not laying here; I got to get up.”

So, 7:30 in the morning Ronnie got up, went downstairs, made himself a cup of coffee and then opened his kitchen blinds. His view was of his neighbor's house across Campbell Street. He saw just a wisp of smoke come from the top of his neighbor's roof. He did not give it much of a thought as he was still half asleep.

“I was standing at the kitchen window, and I opened the blinds, nothing unusual,” Ronnie said. “And then I just noticed a wisp of smoke, like a furnace was going. It just caught my eye. It was nothing strange. It just caught my eye. I really didn't think anything of it.”

Then, he noticed the frost from the back half of his neighbor's house's roof, start to melt, which it should not be doing as it was a cold February morning. According to Accuweather, the low in Cincinnati on Feb. 9 was 19 degrees.

“As I was looking at that, in a daze, I noticed that the frost was melting off the roof,” Ronnie said. “Everything else had frost on it.”

He became concerned.

“I thought there's heat up there, and I need to check it out,” Ronnie said.

He ran outside, wearing what he was wearing in the cold, a sweatshirt and shorts.

“I didn't feel any of that (cold),” Ronnie said. “My adrenaline was going.

“By the time I got over into their yard, I could smell it,” Ronnie said. “Really, there was never a great deal of smoke coming out of the house. There was a hint, every now and then.”

At that point, he began to make some noise, beating on doors and windows around the downstairs.

“I was trying to get someone up,” he said. “I went to the front door first and then I went all the way around the house knocking on windows.”

He was contemplating kicking in the backdoor, and thinking what that could mean if he were wrong about the fire, when Sharon Holt came to the door. The others were still asleep.

“I said, 'Sharon, I think your house is on fire,'” Ronnie said.

Ronnie ran home to get a spotlight. His 15-year-old step daughter Bailey called 9-1-1.

He and Joe Holt went up to the attic, which is the bedroom for Jesse Holt, the Holts' daughter. The fire seemed to be in the ceiling above the stairway.

“We saw smoke up there (in the attic),” Ronnie said. “By the time I got back, there was a hole coming through the ceiling right above the stairs. In a matter of five to 10 minutes, it was coming through the ceiling. My whole thought was she would've been trapped because it was right above where the stairs were.”

He said they could hear the fire in the walls.

“We felt the wall, and it was hot,” Ronnie said. “It happened pretty fast.”

All ran outside as the firefighters arrived. Melissa handed out blankets. The house suffered extensive damage. However, the Holts were even able to get their cat out. The fire is believed to be electrical in nature.

The Holts' church helped the family remove salvageable items after the firefighters left, Ronnie said.

“I really didn't do anything that anyone else would do,” Ronnie said. “I just noticed the frost melting. I didn't do anything heroic. I didn't bust in and carry everyone out.”

Ronnie, a member of the Bible Believers Baptist Church, believes -- without a doubt -- God was the reason the Holt family came out unscathed physically.

“Absolutely, there is no question,” Ronnie said. “For me to get up and just be standing there by the window: Normally, I lay in bed awhile. I just couldn't lay there anymore. My sinuses were clogged up, and I said I have to get up.”

Normally an early riser, he had the good mattress and a warm bed. With it cold, he did not want to get up.

“For him to put me there to know the frost was melting,” Ronnie said. “You know, how many people look at a roof and say 'why don't their house have frost on it?' The front of their house still had frost on it, and the back of the house the frost was going away quickly.”

While the firefighters were fighting the fire, Ronnie had moments to reflect.

“I just felt thankful,” Ronnie said. “Thankful, that they're standing there and we're not wondering 'are they in there? Are they not in there?' I just felt thankful.”

“There's no doubt in my mind whatsoever (it was a miracle), just because of how things went, the order of how things went,” Ronnie said. “There's no doubt that God put me there in that spot at that time. There's no doubt in my mind. The way it worked out, there's no doubt.”