GREENWOOD, Ind. (Daily Journal) - Two Greenwood boys saved their sleeping grandparents from aburning house.
A fire destroyed a home at a floral business on State Road 44 insouthwestern Johnson County.
Firefighters spent hours Saturday night battling the fire at7201 W. State Road 44, Union Township, Trafalgar Fire Chief TomTharpe said. The building had been home to Morningside Gardens, abusiness that's sold thousands of varieties of daylilies, hostasand other perennials for 30 years.
The one-story house was a complete loss, with total damageestimated at $120,000. Owners Walter and Debra Henricks are stayingwith relatives.
Firefighters are investigating what caused the blaze, whichstarted in the garage, Tharpe said.
The Henrickses had gone to sleep while their grandsons stayed upto watch a movie, family members said.
Isom Elementary School student Gabriel Smithers, 10, saw thicksmoke coming from the garage and quickly went to rouse hisgrandparents, whom he led out of the house as smoke filled theliving room.
Debra Henricks said her grandson had to convince her that therereally was a fire and that they had to crawl to safety.
"If he hadn't saved me, I would be dead," Debra Henricks said."I'm so proud of what he did."
Greenwood Middle School student Kasey Smithers, 12, ran barefoota half-mile down the road to call 911 and get help. He directedfirefighters to the house after confusion about whether it was inJohnson County or Morgan County, relative Debbie Smith said.
They got their grandparents out of the house just before thewindows in the garage exploded, Smith said.
"We really think they were heroes," she said. "They got them outof there just in time and they did exactly what they had beentaught to, even though the fire was already going prettystrong."
While the fire spread, relative Will Smith ran across the streetand rescued two dogs from the burning home, Debbie Smith said. Tenanimals, including eight cats that were supposed to be displayed ata 4-H show, died in the blaze.
After leading his grandparents to safety, Gabriel Smithers triedto get back into the house to rescue his pet dog, which perished inthe fire.
"My parents are deep sleepers and would have died of smokeinhalation if Gabe and Kasey didn't act the way they did," saidLaura Henricks, the mother of the boys. "I don't know if theyunderstood the full gravity of the situation at the time, but theydid the right thing and saved my parents."
Flames spread quickly, fueled by furniture and other flammableobjects, Tharpe said.
Firefighters arrived about 9 p.m. to discover that the house wasengulfed with flames, he said.
"We immediately saw that we'd have to fight it defensively,"Tharpe said. "We didn't send anyone inside and just tried to get itunder control. It was just a matter of containing it."
The Bargersville Fire Department was first to arrive. Otherdepartments that helped fight the fire came from Trafalgar,Morgan-town and Green Township.
All four departments used their 3,000-gallon tankers to haulwater about three miles from a tower in Morgantown to the ruralhome. Firefighters needed more than 25,000 gallons to put out thefire, Tharpe said.
Firefighters also sprayed the home with a layer of foam tostifle the blaze and prevent it from reigniting.
The fire apparently did not cause significant damage to theflower gardens, which are spread out over a few acres of the partlywooded property, Tharpe said.
The Henrickses intend to keep Morningside Gardens open, DebraHenricks said.
Before the fire, the Henrickses had been planning to start afoundation to teach children suffering from attention deficithyperactivity disorder about flowers and agriculture.
Thanks to the Johnson County Daily Journal for this story.
Saturday morning, Wishard Memorial Hospital will close its doors.
Snow that moved through Central Indiana this week has wrapped up, leaving some areas with more than 10 inches of snow.
Free bags of salt will be available to the public Saturday after snow moved through Central Indiana this week.