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Lifestyle & Human Interest

'Angel' Spots House Fire in Middle of Night, Warns Family of 11: 'She Saved Our Family'

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As the Ellis-Downing family went to bed on July 4, they had no idea that in just a few short hours, all their lives would be in danger.

The large family of 11 from Fairfield, Ohio, was unaware when a fire broke out in the garage. The smoke detectors weren’t going off. The wind was blowing smoke away from the home, so no one inside smelled it.

But good Samaritan Haily Strong spotted the fire from nearly a mile away and had one thought: She had to warn the people inside.

Strong drove to the house, ran up to the porch, knocked and addressed the doorbell camera.

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“You guys’ garage is on fire!” she said.

She was able to rouse the parents, who were able to get all nine children out of the house before the fire spread and trapped them.

Both parents are incredibly grateful for Strong’s actions, knowing that without her stopping to help, their family might have perished.

“That’s an angel,” Josh Ellis said, according to WLWT. “She saved our family, no exaggeration about that. She stayed and she saved our family. I mean, the house was ablaze.”

“All of the other outcomes that could have happened if she wouldn’t have stopped and knocked on the door,” Brittany Downing said. “I don’t know if me and him would be here today for them kids.”

Before discovering who their angel was, Downing posted their incredible story on Facebook.

“I don’t know who you are, I don’t know where you are or if I’ll ever be able to Thank You again enough for being such a brave human being to stop and bang on the door for minutes while the fire was gorging next to you!” Downing wrote. “You are god sent and if it weren’t for you I don’t know if Me or My family would still be here today!


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“With lots of LOVE, The Ellis Family.”

According to a GoFundMe set up for the family by one of Downing’s close friends, the family lost all their possessions in the fire, including their cars and kids’ clothing and sports equipment. But thanks to Strong, they escaped with the most important thing.

The family eventually met Strong and was able to express their deepest gratitude in person, claiming her as family after her heroic actions.

“It was really beautiful,” Strong said of meeting the family. “I was surprised at how much emotion I felt. Obviously, I was happy to be able to help them out and to get them out ok, but it was great to see them in person.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking