Family of 90-year-old who escaped Oakhaven house fire: ‘It was an act of God’

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The family of a 90-year-old Oakhaven woman is calling it an 'Act of God' that she survived a house fire Monday morning.

It happened along East Shelby Drive and Tchulahoma Road just before 6 a.m.

The elderly woman, Ruby Porter, was able to get out of the home just minutes before fire consumed it.

“I’m just so thankful she was spared," said the woman's cousin, Tommy.

Tommy says his cousin told him she doesn’t know what woke her up, but she smelled the smoke and got outside.

“I just thought it was kind of amazing. Well I don’t look at it as being amazing, I look at it as being an act of God.”

Someone driving by the house on East Shelby Drive also spotted the smoke and called the Memphis Fire Department, according to Lt. Wayne Cooke.

Crews were able to get the fire under control within an hour.

Officials say it started in the bedroom, where Porter was sleeping. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

“She’s shaken up and all, but no physical injuries as far as injuries go. Emotionally, she’s real shaken, but things are okay.”

Tommy says his cousin’s now staying with him as they assess the damage and deal with insurance, noting his loved one’s safety is all that matters right now.

“Things can be replaced but not lives.”

Fire officials say Porter told them she had a smoke alarm, but they’ll have to find it to see if it was working.

They want this to be a reminder to make sure you have a working smoke alarm in your house.

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