It happened last Wednesday around 1 p.m. Sarah Chase’s parents were in the back of their house wrapping Christmas presents, and she was in a front bedroom playing with her brothers and sisters.
By the time she smelled smoke, the flames were so intense the kids could not get out the bedroom door.
“I was scared, but I knew I had to get the kids out and the only way was through the window,” Sarah told KFOR.
She knew the window was the only way out, but there was an AC unit mounted there. At first, she was scared she might get in trouble for breaking it.
“I was thinking I’d rather face the wrath of my parents than die with all my siblings in there,” Sarah said.
Her parents, on the other side of the house, couldn’t get out of their room either.
“I went to go out the door, and it was so hot that it singed my arm hairs and singed my face hair, so I shut the door,” said Lewis Chase.
“I’m yelling down the hallway 'Don’t come down here. Don’t come down here. Go outside.' You know, they didn’t hear us. They were screaming 'Fire' at us. We couldn’t hear them,” said Bethany Chase.
By the time the parents kicked out a window and ran to the front of the house, the kids had all made it out safely.
“And, they were already out across the street. Sarah had already been banging on doors: 'My mom and dad are still in there.' You know, 'the house is on fire. Somebody help,'” Bethany said.
The youngest, 6-year-old Meadow Chase, didn’t want to leave.
“I started crying for my mommy,” Meadow said.
“She was screaming 'Mommy,' and she was telling me 'No. No, I gotta go to mommy.' And, I just had to pick her up and put her out the window,” Sarah said.
“She just pushed me out the window,” Meadow said.
But, she’s now very grateful to her big sister.
“She’s really good, and she’s really a hero,” Meadow said.
Sarah’s not particularly comfortable with the term “hero,” but her sister’s words warm her heart.
“It makes me feel great, and I’m happy that my little sister’s still alive,” Sarah said.
And, while they may have lost all their possessions, the family of seven made it out alive and will get to spend Christmas this year together.
The family tells us they had working smoke detectors, but they had taken them down to change the batteries and had not yet made it to the store to buy those.
They owned their home but did not have any insurance.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for them.