Neighbors help children, babysitter escape burning Kenner home

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 10:34 PM CDT
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KENNER, La. (WVUE) -- Neighbors moved quickly to help evacuate children and a wheelchair-bound babysitter from a burning home Tuesday (May 30) in Kenner.

Patricia Chaney said some of the young boys she babysits started to smell smoke in the house shortly after 11 a.m.

“I had a neighbor run and knock on my door right there,” Chaney said. “He told me, ‘Y’all get out! Get out, get out! You got a fire! Your house burning in the back!’ And we got out.”

Chaney said she was watching more than a half-dozen children, ranging in age from 1 to 13. Neighbors jumped in to help save their lives.

One woman, who didn’t want to be identified, said, “There were so many people that were taking those children out. But there was one child that was still inside that house. So when they said that one boy is missing, (a good Samaritan) had already took off running and got that child out of there.”

That man was driving past the home on Reverend Richard Wilson Drive, when he saw the flames, pulled over and helped get the child out of the burning house.

“Everybody was trying to get the same child out of that building, and that young man did it,” the neighbor said. “I didn’t even get a chance to get his name, but I did tell him thank you for the blessing, for saving this child’s life.”

Firefighters arrived as the flames raged.

“When we arrived, it was heavily involved in the rear of the structure and penetrated into the attic space,” Kenner Fire Chief Terence Morris said.

Morris said the fire was difficult to extinguish. One firefighter was hospitalized after being overcome by the heat.

“It went up too fast,” neighbor Joann Benjamin said. “It was loud. It really was loud.”

After a couple of hours, the flames were out.

But as for what’s left of the home, Chaney says, “Yeah, it’s a total loss and it hurts me real bad. I’ve been here over 40 years.”

She said she was thankful for the quick actions of the neighbors and the passerby.

“I thank God for him,” Chaney said. “I thank God for all of them that helped us.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Red Cross is helping Chaney with housing as she figures out what she’ll do next.

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