Roommates narrowly escape after space heater ignites house fire in Atlanta

Roommates narrowly escape after space heater ignites house fire in Atlanta

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) – Joseph Ward was sound asleep Sunday morning when he was awakened by smoke filling his house.

“I was scared. I was asleep. I woke up and came out of my room and I couldn’t even see,” said Ward.

He quickly realized he had to get out.

“One of my roommates left his heater on and the house caught on fire,” said Ward.

In a serendipitous moment, Jaqarious Freeman and his godfather happened to be in the neighborhood.

“We were riding past giving out turkey stuff for the church. We saw the smoke coming out of the house,” said Freeman.

They called 9-1-1 and both raced over to the home, to see who needed help.

“We went out there. It was people sitting on the porch and people still in the house so we tried to get them out as quick as we can,” said Freeman.

Battalion Chief Terese Cummings with Atlanta Fire Rescue said four people lived in the house and two were home when the fire broke out. The one who had the space heater in the room turned on, was not at home.

“He was actually at church, they told us he was at church,” said Cummings.

She sees these kinds of fires, all too often, reminding all to be mindful this winter. Cummings said the heater caught onto something in the home. She said space heaters need space to operate smoothly.

“I know we are in the winter months and we are having some extremely low temperatures at this time if you do use space heaters, make sure when you leave you turn those off,” said Cummings.

The home is not suitable for ward and his roommates to live in right now, so the American Red Cross and Grove Park Church said they will step in to help. In the meantime, ward says he is just grateful to still have his life.

To donate to help the residents, you can contact the church staff at


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