Burned-out family counts their blessings - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Burned-out family counts their blessings

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

December 15, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Seven members of a Southeast Dougherty County family say it's a miracle they escaped a house fire over the weekend.

They lost everything in that blaze, but they say they are blessed to all still be together for the Christmas Holidays.

The O'Flynn family spends the day in an Albany motel, glad to be together, but saying it's a tragic Holiday season.

 "I'll thank God the rest of my life that everybody did get out alive," James O'Flynn said.

Early Saturday morning, seven members of the family had to battle fire and smoke to escape their home on Mustang Lane. Firefighters suspect the fire started in the laundry room. James, a disabled Vietnam Veteran, spotted the fire in time to wake the other six.

"I could see a big ball of flames. My total heroics was saying fire, get out," O'Flynn said.

Son Brendan O'Flynn got his wife and two small sons out, and then went back in to help his Father out of the fast spreading blaze.

"By the time we got out to the driveway, it was so hot. I basically pushed him down in front of me to keep the heat that was hitting us from hitting us," said Brendan O'Flynn. 

The family says Patrick O'Flynn suffered the worst loss. His pet German Shepherd, Molly, died from the smoke, sleeping right next to him.

 "She had already been gone. That can only make me think how close I was to being gone, because my room was full of smoke," Patrick said.

The Red Cross, friends, and neighbors have helped, but this family lost everything, including their two cars. Now they are asking the community to help get them back on their feet.

"They don't need much. They just need a start," said daughter Mary Williston.

The O'Flynn family says this Christmas will be a tough one, but they are happy that they will all still be together to celebrate it.

If you would like to help the O'Flynn family, a fund has been set up at Region's Bank for donations, or you can call the Southwest Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross.

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