Roswell woman: Grilling mishap could have killed my daughter - CBS46 News

Roswell woman: Grilling mishap could have killed my daughter

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

A Roswell woman is warning others to be extra careful during the summer grilling season. She lost her home -- and she almost lost her daughter -- when a propane tank exploded.

Haqiah A. Lee tells CBS46 News she and four of her five daughters, along with several other family members, were gathered at her Northshore Drive home in April to celebrate the fact that renovations to Lee’s dream home were almost complete.

One of Lee’s brothers was grilling dinner on the back deck.

Nearby, a citronella candle positioned too close to flammable material began to burn out of control, Lee said. When the fire spread to back deck, the grill’s propane tank exploded, causing the fire to spread quickly throughout the house.

Lee had not yet bought a fire extinguisher or smoke detectors.

“I ran and told the kids, ‘Kids, come downstairs! It’s a fire! Run!’”

Once outside, Haqiah counted all the children, but she couldn’t find her 2-year-old daughter Amaya. Lee tried to go back into the burning home, but the smoke knocked her back.

“So after I ran out and fell onto the yard, I’m just freaking out, and all of the sudden, my brother Wally comes from this way with her holding her in his hands,” Lee recalled, “and she’s just wrapped around him like a little bear.”

Lee also shared that story with long-time Red Cross volunteer Mike Richardson who had returned to the home to check on her. Richardson was one of the volunteers who assisted Lee and her family the night of the fire.

As Lee and Richardson looked over what’s left of Lee’s home, she began to sob when she reflected on what could’ve happened.

After offering words of comfort, Richardson asked Lee, “You’re going to have smoke detectors now, aren’t you?”

“And a sprinkler system,” she answered as she wiped away tears.

Richardson said having safety equipment is important.

“More importantly, it’s what do you do when you face a fire – when a fire breaks out in your house -- because usually everybody’s in a different corner of the house,” Richardson said, “especially the little ones because their tendency is to run and hide.”

That’s exactly what Lee’s daughter Amaya had done. She had hid under a desk as thick smoke filled the house. Her uncle rescued her just in time.

“We haven’t gone through a drill, but we need to,” said Lee.

“You need to,” Richardson agreed.

Friends have set up an assistance fund for the Lee family. Click here for more information.

For grilling safety tips, click here.

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