Tuesday, March 5, 2013
A Hutchinson couple is crediting their 8-year-old son for ensuring the entire family survived the fire that destroyed their home just east of that city Monday morning.
While members the Hudson family lost almost everything they had in the fire, which broke out about 7:15 a.m. Monday, they say quick thinking by 8-year-old Tyler ensured they still have each other.
"He's the hero of the family, basically," Patricia Hudson, said of her son Tuesday afternoon.
The Second Grader was about to board the bus to school Monday morning when he noticed something was wrong.
"There was fire and smoke," he said.
The main thing that had Tyler worried was that his brothers -- ages 4 and 6 -- were still inside.
"They were sitting on the couch," Tyler said.
The fire had consumed most of that couch by the time firefighters were able to bring the fire under control.
Tyler quickly alerted his dad, Edward, to the fire and provided some pretty specific instructions.
"Take them out of the house," Tyler remembered telling his dad.
He ran next door to ask the neighbor to call 911 while Dad went after the other two boys. Edward said he did not even have time to think about what he was doing.
"Just get them out of the house," he remembered thinking. "Grabbed whatever I could to cover them up. Just get them out. That's all I cared about."
About that time, Mom -- Patricia Hudson -- was getting home from work.
"I drove up from getting off of work and my husband's waving at me to get back," she said. "It didn't dawn on me at first what was going on. I looked over toward the house, saw the smoke and that told me right there."
Patricia was relieved to quickly learn her family was safe. The family's pets, however, were not as lucky.
"We lost one cat and I think I had like 14 fish," she said. "Lost them all."
Monday's fire left neighbors wishing there was more they could do.
"It was a dreadful feeling because you were helpless," said Renee Kautzer, who lives across the street from the Hudsons. "There wasn't anything to do."
However, Kautzer had found a way to help by Tuesday.
"I had a student of mine that donated some little boys' clothes and some games and stuff and so I was taking it over to them," she said.
Tyler said what helped him most was getting back to business as usual.
"Go to school," he said. "Talk to kids."
The house was insured, but the family is staying in a motel for now while Edward and Patricia work to figure out what they will be able to do next. Hutchinson Fire Department investigators still have not been able to determine how the fire started.