ANDALUSIA, Ala. (WSFA) - Sound asleep in his mother’s bedroom, Elijah McClain remembers that moment he was awakened by smoke.
“I didn’t realize how close I came to dying for real," said McClain.
McClain coughed his way out of the home and called 911 and his mom, Christina Johnson.
“I was more scared when I got outside than when I was inside," said McClain.
“Only thing I was upset about was losing my mom’s Bible," said Johnson.
Johnson visited her home for the first time one week later and found it all so surreal. It’s been determined the fire was accidental in nature, some kind of electrical shortage. No insurance. The family lost everything. Still, Johnson is grateful for the kindness in the form of $6,000 raised so far to help them bounce back.
“When something bad happens to one person they really rally behind each other," said Johnson.
“I am surprised by how much the community noticed," said McClain.
McClain says it’s a pretty good thing he’s the running back for Andalusia High School because his speed came in handy that day as he made his daring escape to the front yard.
Smoke in a house fire typically puts would-be victims in a deep sleep they never wake up from. In this case, the teenager did.
“I just think God woke me up. Has a plan for me," said McClain.
And perhaps another sign of divine intervention. You remember the family Bible Johnson thought was gone? McClain found it inside during the filming of this story.
“Oh man," said Johnson.
Untouched and with no burn marks, it was the very thing Christina Johnson needed to see and hold on to.
“Nothing was perishable,” said Johnson.
The house is gone, but the family is safe. They’re convinced help from above is putting them on the road to what Johnson hopes are new beginnings. Johnson says she is still looking for a new rental home.