Firefighter's 3 Kids Rescued, by His Own Wife

Rachelle Flatt got them out as house was burning and crews were on the way
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2014 6:59 PM CST

(Newser) – A mother in Washington state rescued her three young children from a house fire before firefighters arrived at the scene, reports KREM. It's all the more remarkable because her husband was one of those firefighters rushing to get there. The drama began Tuesday night when Rachelle Flatt of Spokane Valley put her three kids to bed about 9:30, noticed flames on the patio, and called 911, reports KHQ. Then came the explosion—flames ignited a propane tank, and the blast sent smoke and flames into the home.

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Flatt first got her 3-year-old girl out the front door and into the hands of neighbors, reports the Spokesman-Review. Then she went back and got her 15-month-old girl, and back a third time though the thick smoke to get her 6-year-old boy. “That’s when I really started to panic,” she says. "I was running out of air." She made it, though, with husband Pete on the way with his fellow firefighters. "My heart just dropped," he recalls, upon hearing the address. The house suffered heavy damage, but it was insured. The one sad note was the death of faithful Hank the Tank, one of the family's dogs. "He followed me back to my son’s room and didn’t make it out,” says Rachelle. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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