A 16-year-old boy's quick thinking saved his mom's life after a fire broke out in their home last Friday.
"I was panicking and all I heard was my mom saying, 'We're gonna die. We're gonna die,'" said sophomore Joel Lawrence.
An electrical malfunction caused Joel's Pennsylvania home to become engulfed in flames.
"What we believe is the family initially smelled smoke so they opened a window and door to air it out," said Chief Matt Dube of the Hellam Township Fire Department. "But the oxygen from the air fueled the trapped fire which is why the reaction time was so limited once they saw flames."
Joel's 19-year-old sister Shawna left about 10 minutes before the fire broke out, and he was the first one to spot flames after his dog came into his room acting strangely. He walked into the hallway to find out why the pooch was antsy, discovered thick smoke coming from downstairs, and quickly ran to his mom's bedroom.
With little time to get to safety, Joel pushed his mom Joann Becker out of a second-story window and followed behind. Sadly, the family's dogs did not survive the fire. Community members are now helping the family and have placed a plastic garbage bin outside the home with a sign that reads "Please support this family in need." People have been donating clothes, money, and gift cards to help Joel's family get back on their feet.
"Just put yourself in their shoes during this time," says neighbor Jed Smith. "We can go to our closet and pick out what we want to wear, but they don't have that option."