A fire early Friday in Hinesville sent one man to a hospital, but left the family relived that his injuries were minor, that a teenager escaped injury, and determined to add “miracle” to the family pet’s name.
According to Hinesville Fire Department Cpt. Kristian Johanson, the fire was reported by a neighbor who lived across from 512 Elm St. about 4:45 a.m. when she heard dogs barking, and crackling and popping. When she investigated, she saw flames shooting through the roof of the residence and called 911.
Johanson said fire trucks began arriving about 4:50 a.m. As firefighters started work, they heard screams from inside the home. Firefighters entered and found Robert Godwin unconscious. Godwin was later identified by Ophelia Dixon, mother of the teen who also escaped the fire.
Firefighters carried Godwin out as the home was engulfed in flames. EMS personnel rushed Godwin to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. Godwin was not burned, but suffered smoke inhalation and is expected to be released soon.
Shatara Dixon, 15, said she was awakened by the smell of smoke. Friday afternoon, she said she tried to get out the back door, but couldn’t because of smoke.
“It was pitch black,” she said. “I couldn’t see anything. I tried to use my cell phone to light the way, but that didn’t work.”
The teen returned to her room and climbed out a window.
“I opened the window, broke the screen and climbed out.”
Dixon said she got worried when she didn’t see her uncle outside.
“I thought he didn’t make it,” she said.
Meanwhile, Johanson said, neighbors told firefighters there might be children inside. As they prepared to go back inside, they learned there was no one else inside. However, the family pet, an American bulldog named Mac Man, was in a kennel in the kitchen. The kitchen had earlier been filled with flames, but firefighters found Mac Man alive in his kennel. The rescuers turned the frightened animal over to one of the owners who took it to veterinarian Dr. David Beatie. Mac Man suffered smoke inhalation and minor burns. It was later released and, according to Ophelia Dixon, will be renamed Miracle Mac Man Dixon.
Johanson said the cause of the fire has not been determined, but it is believed to have started in the garage.
Anyone who wants to help the family can call Opelia Dixon at 980-6265