Family saved by the bell

November 12, 2010 4:47:22 AM PST
A Fayetteville woman says she thought someone was pulling a prank by ringing her doorbell at 1 a.m. Thursday. It turned out no one was at the door, but the ringing alerted her that the home was on fire.Sharon Mardis says it was a miracle she, her four children and pets all escaped before the roof caved in.

"My doorbell started ringing and I came to the door, there was nobody at the door," Mardis said. "I went back in the house; got 10 to 20 feet and the doorbell started ringing again. I came back to the door, nobody at the door. I stepped outside and looked for who was ringing the doorbell, but then when I walked back inside and I smelled smoke."

The blaze gutted the home and everything that wasn't burned has smoke and water damage.

"I didn't know how bad it was until I got across the street to my neighbors and I turned around and the whole top of my house was in flames," Mardis said.

Fire investigators suspect the fire began in a bathroom that was being remolded, then burned up the walls and into the attic space.

Firefighters say the fire apparently melted wires to the doorbell together and it kept ringing in spurts.

Mardis says smoke detectors in the home didn't go off until the ceilings caught fire and caved in.

Mardis says she believes a guardian angel rang her doorbell Thursday morning, and saved them all.

"Everything we had for life is in the house, but then you turn around and look at the kids and just say well we are here," she said.

The Mardis family says they will start over and with their faith renewed they plan on rebuilding their home.

The Red Cross is currently helping the family find a place to stay.

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