Lester and Gerri Hall had planned to go camping next week. Now, they’re just thankful they’re alive.
The couple was preparing for bed when they heard their doorbell frantically ringing around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday. A passerby alerted them to a raging fire inside their camper next to their home on Tuttle Street in Havelock.
“I just thank God that girl showed up,” Gerri Hall said of Bobbi Jo Herman, who alerted the couple to the fire. “She was ringing our doorbell like crazy and said to call 9-1-1. She’s the one that saved our lives because we would have been in bed by 10 o’clock, and I would have lost everything, everything I worked so hard for.”
Herman said she was driving by the home to pick up a friend from work when she saw flames coming from the camper.
“I saw the fire, and it just looked like it was not a controlled fire,” she said. “I thought for sure I would see fire trucks when I got around the corner but there were none. I just ran up, and I’m sure I scared them to death. They were getting ready for bed, and I just told them to get out of the house and call 9-1-1, get out of the house and call 9-1-1. They were looking at me like I was crazy.”
Herman helped pull propane tanks off the front of the burning camper, and Lester Hall tried to use a garden hose to put out the flames and protect the home from the spreading fire. Eventually the smoke got the better of him, and he had to back away.
By then, Havelock firefighters began arriving as the flames lapped at the garage of the nearby home. They quickly sprayed water on the fire as well as the home. As the flames began to weaken, they opened the garage and examined it and the rest of the house for fire but found nothing.
All the while, Lester and Gerri Hall stood across the street in a neighbor’s yard watching, Lester without shoes holding the couple’s dog, Max.
“We were going to go camping next week to the Moose Lodge in Newport because they had a thing going on next weekend,” Gerri Hall said. “That’s our second home. We go camping a lot.”
Despite the loss of the camper, she was happy the home wasn’t badly damaged. She operates a home day care.
“My children would not have had any place to go because I would have lost my house,” she said.
The camper was a total loss. The Havelock Fire Department is investigating the cause of the fire. No one was injured.