WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — “As soon as I came out and turned around, she wasn’t there. I instantly screamed for help.”
Joseph Theran and his wife Jessie narrowly escaped a fire that tore through their apartment on Water Street in Woonsocket on Friday.
Now, one week later, Jessie is in a medically induced coma as she recovers from second- and third-degree burns and smoke inhalation.
The couple was rushed to the hospital as firefighters worked to knock down the fire that started around 5 a.m. Joseph said he was awakened by the fire alarm then saw thick smoke filling their second-floor unit.
“My first thought was just, ‘Get out. We need to get out as fast and safely as we can,'” he recalled.
Joseph said he and Jessie dropped to the ground and crawled to the stairs.
“It just hit the back of your throat, like you almost couldn’t breathe,” he said of the smoke.
Joseph managed to make it outside, but panic soon set in when he realized Jessie wasn’t there with him.
“So I grabbed the hose,” he said. “The heat was just hitting me so hard that I just couldn’t get close enough.”
Joseph said he started spraying the fire, then himself, then the front door until he was able to get back inside.
“I was able to put my hand on her, and she was right there … ‘I need to get her out,'” he recalled. “The smoke kind of cleared, I could see that was her, I was able to move her feet and just pick her up, get her to the stairs off the porch,” he said.
Joseph ran back inside to try to save their pet snake and two cats, but he was unable to. He suffered second-degree burns on his foot and up his forearm to his shoulder.
When asked what he’ll do once his wife wakes up, Joseph replied: “Just say hi. Just say that she’s safe, we’re fine, we’re going to recover … and that I’m there for her.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the couple with their medical expenses, as well as their losses from the fire.