Three people remained hospitalized Wednesday night after an early morning fire raced through a mobile home in Callaway Heights. Two children, ages 2 and 3, were treated and released.
According to Lt. Chris Sauls of the Callaway Fire Department, units from Callaway, Springfield and Bay County responded to the double wide mobile home at 124 Dogwood Way at 5:35 a.m.
Earlier, Donald Harrison, who lived in another mobile home on the property, said he was awakened by Virginia Pridgen, who fled the burning trailer with her children. Her parents were still inside.
"It don't pay to be scared, you can forget that," Harrison said. "You just do what comes next."
Harrison said he and his son rushed outside and saw Dennis Pridgen standing on the front steps of the mobile home and having difficulty breathing. Laquita hadn't come out.
"We kept hollering for her and finally she come crawling around there and me and my son dragged her out of the house," Harrison said.
Once everyone was out of the trailer, Harrison grabbed a hose and tried to put the fire out, he said. "All I could see there was just smoke and a little bit of reddish coming from over towards the back bedroom," Harrison said. "The ceiling fan fell and I started spraying up towards the ceiling, trying to keep it from falling in."
Lt. Sauls said about half of the structure was in flames when firefighters arrived. The fire was extinguished in about 45 minutes, he said, but a crew was still on the scene spraying hotspots several hours later. The mobile home continued to spew smoke and the fire even flared back up late Wednesday afternoon.
"Trailers are always challenging just because they're so compartmentalized," Sauls said. "There's a lot of voids and spaces, especially on a double wide, where they're joined together."
Harrison said Christmas toys and just about everything else were destroyed. Family members are taking care of the children and the Red Cross provided them with clothes, food and other supplies.
According to a Bay Medical-Sacred Heart spokesperson, all three of the adults are being treated in the hospital's intensive care unit. Dennis Pridgen is in guarded condition, Laquita Pridgen is in critical condition and Virginia Pridgen is stable, the spokesperson said. The nature of their injuries was not disclosed.
Harrison looked for a silver lining amid the black ashes of his neighbor's home. "We got hope if nothing else," he said. "Put your faith where it belongs and it will always come back to you some way or other."
The State Fire Marshal investigating the cause of the fire.