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Passing Driver Saves Corsicana Couple From Fire

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CORSICANA (CBSDFW.COM) – Being late can be a good thing sometimes. A couple in Corsicana believe that they were able to escape death and injury because a woman was late to work on Monday.

Ashley Hanna’s alarm didn’t go off on Monday morning. “Oh, it was set. The light was on. The alarm was on. It just didn’t go off,” she said. And with three kids to drop off at various places before work, it looked like she was going to be 45 minutes late. “I’m never that late.”

So, Hanna decided to take Southeast County Road 3060, a shortcut. “To me, it’s Providence Road. That’s what I grew up calling it. They’ve renamed it since then, 3060.”

Flying down the road, something caught her eye. A flame, and a refrigerator on a side porch. “When I backed up, I saw one little flame coming out of the back of the refrigerator,” Hanna said. In seconds, the house was on fire.

There were two cars in the driveway. Hanna wondered if anyone might be sleeping inside the home. She called 911. “By that time, the whole car port was already in flames. So, I just started laying on the horn,” she said. But nobody came out.

So, Hanna ran up to the burning house and started knocking on the front door. “Left my truck in the middle of the road and ran up to the front door and just started beating on it,” she said. The door was hot. Flames had already spread to the roof. “It was over my head, rolling up over the top of the porch.”

Hanna continued banging on the door. Still, no one answered.

In a bedroom near the front door, 19-year-old Ashlyn Valentine had been asleep when she heard someone honking the car horn and banging on the door. “I heard honking for a few minutes and I didn’t think anything of it,” she said.

Asleep next to Valentine was her boyfriend, 21-year-old Tyler Richter. “I wasn’t going to get up,” he said.

But Valentine heard more noises. “Then, I heard crashing around, like somebody was breaking in, and I got really scared.” So, Valentine peeked out the window. She saw smoke, but didn’t realize it was coming from their house. That made Richter get up. “We ran into the living room together and the kitchen was already on fire, and was coming up over the top of the doorway in the living room.”

“I just see flames roaring, so I run back to the room. I didn’t know what to grab,” Richter said.

Meanwhile, Hanna was still outside. Her three kids were still in her pickup truck. But no one had come out of the house. So, Hanna went to another home across the street and knocked on that door. The woman who answered told Hanna that her son lived in the house, and her grandson was still inside the house, which was fully engulfed in flames. “I immediately started apologizing, saying, ‘I’m sorry, I tried,'” Hanna remembered.

But Valentine and Richter had made it out of the house, just before the roof caved in. “I’m just glad He put her on this road, being late. And just, you know, saving us,” Richter said.

Hanna thought that she was late on Monday. As it turned out, she was right on time.

“When they came running down the driveway and he said they were the only two in there, it was a relief,” Hanna said.

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