Fort Mill Times

Tega Cay family escapes house fire

A Tega Cay family says a security system and fire safety preparation are the reasons they survived a blaze that gutted their home early Friday morning. Around 3 a.m. Friday, the Tega Cay Fire Department responded to a house fire at 1098 Wind Song Bay in the Lakeshore subdivision, Fire Chief Scott Szymanski said.

“The upstairs was engulfed in flames,” Szymanski said. “The house is totaled.”

Officials did not have to rescue the family, he said.

“Everybody was out of the house,” he said. “The husband and wife were transported to Carolinas Medical Center in Pineville (N.C.) for smoke inhalation and then were released.“

Their children did not require medical treatment, Szymanski said.

The York County chapter of the American Red Cross assisted the family – Nathaniel D. and Jesica A. Greek and their sons ages 11, 9 and 7, said Denise Cubbedge, emergency services director.

Everyone in the family was asleep when the fire erupted. It was detected by the home’s CCI security system. Jesica Greek was the first one to wake up when an operator with the system activated a communication system in the home.

“I think she said, ‘Do you need assistance,’” Jesica recalled Friday afternoon. “I said, ‘Yes. We have a fire.”

And it didn’t look good, she said.

“I saw thick smoke,” she recalled. “All the smoke detectors were going off.”

The alarms also woke the children, William, 11, Nicholas, 9, and Zachary, 7. Jesica Greek told them to use the family’s prearranged fire escape plan to get out of the house.

Nathaniel Greek, who was still asleep in the couple’s bedroom, said his wife saved his life. She opened the door to the room, where flames blazed, but the door slammed in her face and she was unable to reopen it. A sleep like Nathaniel lay motionless on the couple's bed so she yelled and banged on the door until her husband woke up, Jesica said.

“I think my blood oxygen level had gone so low that had my wife not awakened me, I don’t believe that I would have survived the fire,” said Nathaniel, 36.

Though out of immediate harm’s way, the couple had yet to make it out of their two-story house. Doing so was a feat in itself, Jesica said.

“My husband was real disoriented from being in the room,” Jesica recalled of the trip down about 15 steps. “I had to help him down the steps. It was rough.”

A fire report was not available Friday evening, but Jesica Greek said she was told that a preliminary investigation indicated the fire started on the second floor of the house and may have been caused by an electrical problem.

Approximately 45 firefighters from the Flint Hill and Tega Cay fire departments battled the blaze at the brick and siding home for about 45 minutes. They remained at the scene for several hours Friday and worked “hot spots,” Szymanski said. They left around 11:30 a.m.

Damages are estimated between $350,000 and $500,000, he said.

For now, the Greeks will stay with family.

And they're grateful, Jesica Greek said.

"We are thankful that everybody is safe," she said. "We know God is always faithful."

Want to help? The Upper Palmetto chapter of the American Red Cross assisted the Greek family in the fire’s aftermath. Since last Saturday, the agency has assisted eight families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by fires. If you’d like to help the nonprofit agency in its outreach, send checks payable to the American Red Cross, 200 Piedmont Blvd., Rock Hill, SC, 29732. For details, call 329-6575.BOX Want to help the family? Tega Cay Neighbors Helping Neighbors is accepting donations to help the Greek family. For details or to donate money, clothing or household items, call Bill Stumpf at 704-907-9471 or visit the group’s Web site at tegacayneighbors.com.--

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