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CONROE- A River Plantation family won’t be spending the holidays at home after a two-alarm fire gutted the back of their house around 10:30 p.m. Friday night. However, the family found a positive side to the catastrophe and said they were grateful to firefighters and a neighbor who saved something irreplaceable.
Tracy Carnahan was alone at her home in the 600 block of Hampton Hall when she was awakened by a “popping” sound in the upstairs bathroom.
“I couldn’t imagine what it was,” Carnahan said. “It was the enamel cracking on the tub.” She also noticed a brown scorched spot as Carnahan heard her husband Kevin turn into the driveway with their two children.
Kevin Carnahan said the house was filling with smoke when he arrived and the family fled to the backyard.
“I saw the wood that was against the fire place glowing and it was obviously burning, so I called 9-1-1,” he said.
Neighbor Pete Ringo ran over and used a fire extinguisher and then a garden hose on the spreading fire before the professionals arrived, but that wasn’t the end of his heroism.
River Plantation Fire Department and Needham Fire and Rescue responded first to the brick two-story home, followed by Grangerland Volunteer Fire Department and the Conroe Fire Department responded
Ringo sprung into action again, the Carnahan’s said, but not to fight the fire.
“He even ran inside because he knew we had a baseball signed by Roger Clemens,” Tracy Carnahan said. “I never would’ve thought of that.”
Last year, Ringo and Kevin Carnahan coached their sons’ baseball team and Clemens visited and signed a ball for each team member, she said.
Assistant Fire Chief Randy Doyle with Needham Fire and Rescue said crews arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the eaves of the home. After the fire was extinguished, the smoke was evidenced by discoloration on the white brick walls near the roof.
Tracy Carnahan was not as upset as many might be as she shivered in the cold air looking at her damaged home. She was more concerned about the safety of firefighters on her roof and around the damaged home. Carnahan was especially touched when one of the firemen told her they located and saved some of the Christmas presents she’d already bought after hearing her mention them to someone else as she stood on the street.
“Thank you so much,” she said. “And thank you for coming here in the middle of the night.”
Carnahan thanked numerous firefighters individually and said she wanted to find some other way to express the family’s gratitude for their efforts not only to stop the fire but to save as many of their belongings as possible from the water damage that often destroys so much.
She said the things that couldn’t be saved were only material and could be replaced, but her family was what mattered and they were all safe.
The Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the fire, as is standard practice.