Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Brad and Beverly Tompkins who live on Saints Delight Road in the Sampit area say they are very grateful to a neighbor whose quick actions are being credited for saving their lives – as well as the lives of a one-month-old baby they were baby-sitting, two dogs and a deer that were all inside the home.
Stacey Hughes-Simpson was on her way to work before 7 a.m. Tuesday when she saw smoke coming from the home of Brad and Beverly Tompkins, across from BB Smith's Store.
She told the Georgetown Times she knows the couple and knew they would not be outside burning leaves before 7 a.m. so she took a closer look and saw the house was actually burning.
“I drove my car up to the porch and forced open the front door,” Hughes-Simpson said.
Everyone was still asleep so the woman began yelling telling them their house was burning.
Mrs. Tompkins handed Hughes-Simpson the baby while she hurried to help her husband and pets out of the house.
“I am just very grateful I was passing by at the right time,” Hughes-Simpson said. “I was working off of adrenaline.”
Mr. Tompkins said if it had not been for his neighbor “we may have perished in there.”
All but one of the family dogs made it out safely.
That dog, Mrs. Tompkins said as she fought back tears while holding her other two pets, suffocated under a bed.
As for the deer, it is now 6-years-old and has been raised by the Tompkins since it was a fawn. The couple found the baby deer next to a road after its mother was struck and killed by a vehicle.
“I lost children so I replaced them with animals,” Mrs. Tompkins said.
Vickie Tompkins, the mother of Brad Tompkins, said she is very thankful her son and daughter-in-law survived the fire.
“The material stuff can be replaced,” she said.
Two things that did survive the fire are a Bible translator Vickie Tompkins had given her son for Christmas and a scrap book she had made.
“I don't know what we will do,” Mr. Tompkins said.
He praised county firefighters for their efforts.
“They were here before I got my pets out,” he said.
Assistant Georgetown County Fire Chief Tony Hucks said the cause of the fire appears to be electrical.