By Lora Scripps
When Ty Campbell saw smoke coming from Elizabeth Carter’s home Tuesday, he did the only thing he knew to do — he took action.
The 13-year-old, who was staying with his grandparents Clinon and Bea Campbell on Pine Street, grabbed a water hose and headed into their neighbor’s home. When he made it to the utility room he realized a fire had broken out in the kitchen, around the stove, dishwasher and floor. Ty worked to extinguish the flames only heading outside once for fresh air.
Elizabeth said a box of cereal bars and snacks she had set on the stove started the fire.
“I don’t know how the eye got turned on,” she said, explaining it must have gotten bumped on by mistake.
Unaware the stove eye was on, Elizabeth finished eating, took her medicine and lay down in her room to rest.
“I laid there a while and dozed off, but didn’t go to sleep,” she said. “In a little while my eyes started burning, then my nose, and I thought, ‘what is that?’”
She got up and started toward the kitchen.
“I couldn’t see my hand before my face,” she said.
Elizabeth headed out the house to the carport, gasping for breath.
That is when Ty saw Elizabeth, heard her gasping and took action.
“She is my friend, and I didn’t want her to die,” Ty said. “I was scared but I ran to the back (of the house) to help. I got the hose and sprayed the kitchen down.”
Elizabeth is thankful for Ty’s quick thinking.
“I think he is a hero,” she said. “I’m so proud of him.”
Carter, 88, who has lived at her home on Pine Street for 57 years, said she hates the fire happened but she is happy her house didn’t burn.
“It’s a good thing I didn’t go to sleep,” Elizabeth said. “The house would have probably burned down and I would have burned with it. I would have had so much smoke inhalation I couldn’t have managed.”
Ty’s parents, Tony and Saundra Campbell of Athens, are impressed by their son.
“We are really proud of him for doing what he did,” Tony said. “He is a really good kid. He has a heart as big as a truck.”
Tony said the Carters have always been special to the Campbell family.
“When I was Ty’s age (the late) Mr. Carter would take me fishing,” he said. “Mrs. Carter is probably the matriarch of the neighborhood.”
Luckily, Ty had the fire extinguished before anyone had to call the fire department.
“It was a good thing he was here and saw what was happening,” Elizabeth said.
Coincidentally when asked what he wants to do when he gets older, Ty answered, “a firefighter.”