Fire victims grateful for mystery good Samaritan

by: Tom Regan Updated:

A Gwinnett County family who lost their home to a devastating early morning fire told Channel 2 Action News a passing motorist who spotted the fire woke them up to escape.
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. —

A Gwinnett County family who lost their home to a devastating early-morning fire told Channel 2 Action News a passing motorist who spotted the fire woke them up to escape.

"We heard a banging on the door. That's what got us up. Bless her, that's probably what saved us," said Gary Ross.

Ross told Channel 2's Tom Regan that he and five members of his family were sleeping when a small fire started in a corner of their home on Old Thompson Mill Road in Buford around 5 a.m. Thursday. A woman was driving past the home, noticed the fire and ran to the front door to alert the family to the danger.

Once the family got out, Ross's son realized that one of their three dogs was still inside the home.

"I had to run back inside and grab one of my dogs, cause he was laying up under the bed scared. By the time I went back in, you couldn't see, the smoke was so thick," said Robert Ross.

The fire spread quickly into the attic of the large two-story home. Firefighters arrived on the scene quickly, but there was not much they could do to save the house.

"Once it got that involved, and the attic was involved, that's when it burns a whole lot faster," said Gwinnett Fire Department Lt. Colin Rhoden.

Rhoden said the cause of the fire remains under investigation. Throughout the day people stopped by to drop off clothing and food for the family. Ross said he has insurance, but the family lost nearly everything in the blaze, including their preparations for Christmas.

But he is thankful that his family is safe and would like to express his appreciation to the woman who alerted them to the fire soon after it began. She left before he could get her name.

"I would like to thank her. It it hadn't been for, we may not have gotten out of here. We'd like to get to see who she was and let her know we sure do appreciate it," said Ross.