11-year-old boy, delivery truck driver credited with saving their neighbors from a fire in Clarksville

Clarksville Apartment Fire
Posted at 4:31 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 19:36:18-05

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Several families in Clarksville are lucky to be alive after their apartment complex burst into flames Tuesday morning.

Gabriele Harris Bailey said she had never been more thankful for a rude awakening, early in the morning.

"My smoke alarm didn’t go off, nothing," Harris Bailey said. "I didn’t smell nothing, the next thing I know someone knocked on the door and screamed the building was on fire."

When she got outside, she found the apartment complex she's called home for more than two decades on fire.

"It could have been different, it could have gone a lot different that’s for sure," Harris Bailey said.

Clarksville Fire Department officials said they got the call just before 7 a.m. at an apartment complex on Jack Miller Boulevard in North Clarksville. Thankfully all the residents got out unscathed, thanks to two unlikely people.

"An 11-year-old boy was in his room, smelled smoke, came out and the couch was on fire," CFD Assistant Chief Michael Rios said.

Rios emphasized that the boy did everything the right way.

"I know he was worried about his game system or his belongings but he got out and stayed out and protected what was really important — himself," Rios said.

NewsChannel 5 spoke to several different residents who didn't want to go on camera, but they say the 11-year-old actually tried to go door-to-door to wake people up, but then he got some help to make sure everybody got out.

Rios never got the man's name, but he said a delivery truck driver assisted several neighbors to safety.

"He drove by and saw the smoke. He’s the one who called 911 and helped evacuate the building so, if he’s out there, thank you sir, we appreciate it," Rios said.

While every person made it out safely, tragically, the 11-year-old's cat did not. Still, those involved are so thankful for the rude awakening that likely saved a lot of lives.

"Everybody got out, nobody got hurt, that’s all that matters,"Harris Bailey said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The Clarksville Fire Department says this is a great reminder to educate children to do exactly what this 1`1-year-old boy did — evacuate immediately outside and don't go back in.