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Wrong turn helps children escape fire

Two women with the UMArmy were looking for a client’s residence when they made a wrong turn and become lost. They spotted two children outside and asked them if they knew where the address was located.

The children, also not from Orange, said no and their house was on fire. They were in town visiting their aunt.

Lorrie Bell, of Hunstville, grabbed a fire extinguisher after the driver, Caroline, stopped the vehicle. Bell headed into the house to see if she could put out the fire.

“I did not see any flames, but the house was filled with smoke,” Bell said. “I was scared to death. But it felt good to at least be able to comfort the children.”

The children grabbed a cat and a rabbit on the way out but were unable to save the bird which had alerted Alexander Jordan of the situation.

“The bird started flying around the room,” Jordan said. “I looked over at the table and it was on fire.”

He immediately told Angel Norris of the fire.

“I barely heard him,” Norris said. “I left my glasses in the house. I saw orange. The lady stopped and asked if everything was alright.”

Norris said they tried to go back into the house with Bell but even with a flashlight, the smoke was too thick.

“I started coughing and she said we had to get out of the house,” Norris said.

Norris called 9-1-1 to report the fire before calling her mother.

“My mom always said if I was somewhere else and something happened, to call 9-1-1 first and her second.”

The children were grateful they were able to save the cat and the rabbit but felt bad their aunt’s bird.

“She had that bird a long long time,” Norris said. “I think it is the first bird she lost.”

“If I lost a pet in a fire, I would be devastated,” Norris said.

“I really wanted to save the bird but I could not,” Jordan said.

United Methodist Action Outreach Mission by Youth (UMArmy) is a group, consisting of over 1,000 youth and adults throughout Central, South and West Texas, sacrificing a week of their vacation to give to others. Using a local church as a home base for camp, participants spend the week providing work for low-income, elderly, and disabled homeowners in the surrounding areas. Projects include general repairs and clean up, building wheelchair ramps, porches, steps, handrails, painting, and mowing. Their mission is to provide Christ centered, quality youth work camps that serve people in need while promoting spiritual growth and leadership development in youth.

The organization contacts area agencies, schools and county offices who may be aware of certain needs within the community that fit within the scope of the work.

The group is not licensed electricians or plumbers and will work within the capabilities of the team.

There is no cost to the client and all materials are donated.

U.M. ARMY began in 1979 when 36 youth and adults from Houston area churches decided that rather than go to Tennessee for a mission project, they would save the travel money and spend it working on needs near home. The high cost of gas, long lines at gas stations and concerns about whether or not the group could make it there and back caused them to consider building a new ministry right in their own backyard.