Neighbors' fast action saves mother, 2 children from fire

Neighbors' fast action saves mother, 2 children from fire

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A natural gas explosion caused the fire. A natural gas explosion caused the fire.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

A mother and her two children are being treated for burn injuries after a natural gas line exploded in their Huntsville apartment Tuesday night.

Crews responded to a resulting fire inside the apartment building in the Lincoln Park housing complex on Washington Street around 10 p.m.

Neighbors heard the explosion and called 911. Cheri Kent and her two children were sleeping when the fire broke out.

One man rushed inside and broke a window with his arm to rescue the mother.

"I went in one room and I couldn't find her but heard her voice screaming for help. And the smoke ran me back out so I came out the back window and ran to the front porch and I heard her screaming again and I saw her standing in the window. I took my front elbow and knocked out the front window and pulled her out," said neighbor Earl Kefch.

Another neighbor, John Marshall, helped get the children out of the house.

Firefighters had to cut a hole through the roof to knock down the fire.

HEMSI took Kent and her children to Huntsville Hospital's Trauma Center in serious condition. They were later transferred to UAB's burn center in Birmingham.

Paramedics said Kent suffered burns on 50 percent of her body. Her daughter, 5, and son, 7, both have moderate burns.

Webster Drive west of Washington Street will be closed most of the day.

Crews said the gas valve they would normally use to cut off the gas was damaged and additional crews had to be called in to help.

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SLIDESHOW

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Photos of fire on Washington Street. See photos.

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