Family of disabled Marine veteran saved by cell phone - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Family of disabled Marine veteran saved by cell phone

(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)

A family in Oak Grove Heights worked Monday to recover from a Saturday night fire that destroyed their home.

The Wince family returned home from a vacation and were settling in for the night when Shawntelle Wince heard the smoke alarm.

She said her husband, Tommy, looked into their bedroom and saw his phone that was charging had burst into flames.

Shawntelle said they tried to put it out but could not and called the fire department for help.

What they did not know at the time is that the phone did not cause their home to burn.

“According to the police chief, what had happened is it was in the attic and whenever I plugged my phone in, because the wires were burning in the attic, it shorted it out,” Tommy Wince said.

Tommy called the burning phone a sign from God to get out of the home.

No one was injured but first responders treated Tommy for smoke inhalation after he went back into the burning building.

“Whenever it first started, they [daughters] both had blankets that they've had since they were babies,” Tommy said. “That was what was on their mind. ‘Please get our blankets.’ I ran back in the house twice trying to find them and wasn't able.”

Responders told Tommy and Shawntelle that the outcome could have been worse.

Tommy said he was told that if his phone had not caught fire, they may not have gotten out of the house in time before the ceiling collapsed and the fire spread.

The family said their 7-year-old daughter is unable to process what happened but their 11 year old is still working through it.

“She's doing okay, she just wants a home again,” Tommy said. “That was what she said she said I don't care about my toys, I want a home. So I mean that's obviously what we want. We just want a home again.”

Shawntelle said there is a GoFundMe account set up for the family and a bank account at Focus Bank.

Both Tommy and Shawntelle said they are doing fine on clothes but will be needing household items for their new home. 

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