Family safely escapes early morning house fire in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A family of seven had to escape their burning home early Thursday morning. Everyone was able to make it out of the house safely, but their home was badly damaged.

The fire caused Ervin Lanier to receive a phone call that would cause any grandfather to panic – finding out his granddaughter’s house, with all five great grandchildren inside, caught fire.

“I was hoping they weren’t hurt, and that’s the biggest thing I was concerned about,” Lanier said.

He says his granddaughter, her husband and their five children, ages three to 13, got out of the burning house by kicking down a door.

“I thank God they all came out alive,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing I want to say.”

Once the flames were extinguished and the sun was up, Lanier and his family could take in the damage left behind by the blaze.

Lanier has a long history with the house. He grew up in the neighborhood, born just a few streets over in 1935.

In 1953, he was called out to the house to do some stone work.

He says he was surprised when his granddaughter bought the house in 2000, but he says he’s even more surprised that 50 years after he built the wall, it’s almost the only thing left standing on the property.

The fire chief says the Red Cross was called out to help the family find a place to stay. A firefighter was hurt while fighting the blaze. He fell outside the home, but was taken to the hospital and will be okay.

2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

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