Mom's rescue effort saves Lee County child

TUPELO – When Lori Newcomb ran back into her burning house for one of her children, the thought of dying never entered her mind.
“When I realized Elena didn’t make it outside with everyone else, I just ran back in the house,” said Newcomb. “I yelled for her and yelled for her and didn’t get an answer. I was getting frantic.
“Then I felt around and finally felt her leg and pulled her to me. We ran through the house I could hardly breathe, but I knew I had to get my baby out of there no matter what.”

Getting everyone out
What could have been a tragedy started Aug. 4 with a 2 a.m. fire at the Saltillo home occupied by Newcomb; her two children, 5-year-old Elena and 2-year-old Brooklyn; and Newcomb’s brother and father.
Newcomb said her dad woke up shortly after 2 a.m. because the air conditioner had shut off, and he couldn’t sleep without it.
“When daddy got up he noticed the smoke and woke everyone up so we could get out,” remembered Newcome. “I immediately jumped up and woke Elena and told her to get out while I got Brooklyn. We all left the house so fast that I didn’t realize until we were all outside that Elena didn’t get up. I was terrified that she’d be hurt so I did what any mother would’ve done and ran back in to find my child.”
Despite running through flames and smoke, Newcomb said she didn’t notice the blaze while she was inside looking for Elena. She said she didn’t even realize she’d burned her lips, nose and hair until much later.
That came after the adrenaline had stopped flowing.
“I was very scared after the fact,” she said. “Scared that she could have been killed, or that I could have been killed trying to get to her. It all just hit me at once. But there isn’t a doubt in my mind that if the same thing happened today I would do it again without hesitation.”
Newcomb’s home was destroyed by the fire, which authorities said was caused by an electrical problem that started in the utility room. But she’s glad that it ended safely for her and her family.
“Things could have ended worse than just losing a home,” said Newcomb, who with her children are now staying with a relative in Tupelo. “I could have lost something far more important to me.”
Elena said she was happy her mother found her, but was sad that not everyone made it out of the fire.
“I miss Oscar,” said a saddened Elena. “He was our dog and I miss him. He died. But mommy saved me, so I’m happy.”

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

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