Woman credited for rescuing babysitter, kids from Rockingham County fire

A truck and home were burned down in Saturday's house fire.
A truck and home were burned down in Saturday's house fire.(WHSV)
Published: Nov. 26, 2017 at 6:14 PM EST
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A woman is being credited for saving several lives when a fire ripped through a home this weekend.

Shanna Thomas, the sister of the woman who

, said the quick thinking of her young nephew and his grandmother saved the day.

"I'm so proud of him," Shanna Thomas said. "The first time I saw him, when I walked in, he screamed, 'auntie, I knew what to do!'"

Thomas said the five-year-old was home with his two brothers and their babysitter when the fire started Saturday. The child was able to get out of the house and run two doors down to where his grandmother was, she said.

That's when his grandmother, Stacey Carper, sprung into action.

"The windows were busting out on her, exploding on her," Thomas said. "So she couldn't get in that way."

With flames coming out of the front door and every window, Carper had only one way in — a sliding-glass door. But the door was locked, and the three-year-old and two-year-old inside couldn't unlock it.

"She doesn't know how she did it," Thomas said. "She said maybe adrenaline, but she doesn't know. But she managed to rip the door literally off the trailer."

After getting the two-year-old and three-year-old out of the house, Carper knew the babysitter was still inside. She made her way back inside and collapsed in the living room because the smoke, according to Thomas.

But once she collapsed, she found the babysitter unconscious on the ground.

"She literally had to throw the girl over her shoulder and run to safety," Thomas said.

The babysitter is now in a hospital in Richmond and her health is improving, said Thomas.

While the babysitter and children were able to make it out, a puppy and two lizards were killed. A newly repaired truck was also destroyed.

The home was considered a total loss and an investigation is ongoing into what caused the fire, according to an official with Rockingham Fire & Rescue.

After losing everything, the family is now asking the community for help.

They have set up a GoFundMe page to help Stephanie Shifflett recover after the fire took her home and truck. You can access it