COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Officials are still investigating the cause of a house fire that broke out on 42nd St. near Oates Ave. in Columbus, Thursday afternoon, but residents are blaming a newly installed water heater.
Six adults and two young children were inside watching television when the room began filling with smoke. After the children were rescued and everyone made it outside safely, a man who walks with a cane went back in the burning house to retrieve something he left behind.
"I told them to get the kids out and everything, and me myself, being an alcoholic, I was trying to get my beer out," said Walter Serpit, "I went back into the house like a dummy and the door shut on me because this back draft was about to kill me."
Serpit managed to save several cans of beer and he escaped the home without getting burned.
The Red Cross arrived shortly after firefighters extinguished the flames and they are helping the family get back on their feet. One Red Cross volunteer at the scene said they were able to respond quickly because a neighbor alerted them to the situation.