87-year-old woman saves daughter from house fire

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — An 87-year-old Cherokee County woman says God gave her the strength to save her daughter when their house caught on fire.

Allene Callahan, who recently suffered a massive heart attack, was home along with her 67-year-old daughter Shirley when the flames broke out in their Holly Springs Parkway home.

Shirley, who was born with cerebral palsy, was sleeping in a hospital bed in the middle of the living room at the time. Allene says they had only been home from the hospital a few hours when the blaze started around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

Allene was lying on the sofa next to Shirley when a popping sound woke her up.

“That fire was a raging and my child was in there and I was trying to get her out and I turned to something,” Callahan said.

Allene told Channel 2’s Wendy Corona that something was God.

When she noticed flames blocking the front door, Allene did what she had to do to get them out safely.

“I grabbed the water hose and watered it down around the door enough to get her out,” Allene said.

She then lifted her daughter from the bed and tried to pull her out.

“I had plenty of strength honey. That was my child,” Allene said. “You don’t know until you face something like that. It takes everything out of you.”

Help arrived as Allene tried to pull her daughter through the home.

First on scene was Sgt. Derrick Voss with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.

“I ran directly in through the front door which was on fire. (I) ducked underneath the fire and got inside. Mrs. Callahan was inside the house. She didn't want to leave her daughter,” Voss said.

Looking at the damage left behind, Ronnie Callahan said he is proud of his mother’s heroism.

“That woman would've never left her in there by herself. It (would have) got(ten) both of them. No way she'd a left her,” he said.

Allene thanks the officers for coming to their rescue.

“They helped save me and my child and I'll always have a place in my heart for them,” she said.