Woman recovering after saving elderly woman from fire - WSMV Channel 4

Woman recovering after saving elderly woman from fire

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Shelia Ritchie Shelia Ritchie
BYRDSTOWN, TN (WSMV) -

If a house catches fire you don't have much time to escape. That's why a Midstate woman is being called a hero, for saving an elderly woman and herself from the flames.

"My voice has come back," Sheila Ritchie said.

These days Ritchie's voice has a raspy tone. It's due to smoke. But she's thankful she's alive.

"I knew I was going to die because there was nowhere to go, because it was all fire," Ritchie said.

Ritchie was at Elizabeth Lowe's home in west Nashville in early July. She provided care and lived with the 96-year-old four days a week. That July day, she spotted flames behind the clothes dryer.

"The dryer blew me against the door," Ritchie said. "I got up and the entire den was on fire."

"I was running through the kitchen, which was a very small kitchen, the oven blew up," Ritchie said.

Ritchie made it to Lowe.

"I turned around and there was a ball of fire everywhere and my little lady looked up and said Sheila," Ritchie said.

In that moment Ritchie found the strength to pick the 96-year-old up.

"I got a towel over her and I looked and I said we're going for it," Ritchie said.

Ritchie fought thick smoke and flames to get them both out alive. She said once out of the house, Ritchie said she called 911 and neighbors came to their aid. First responders rushed both the women to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

"They were cutting off my clothes, my uniform, I said can I leave my panties on and everything went black," Ritchie said. "They said I died. They had to resuscitate me."

Ritchie spent nearly a week in intensive care. When she got out, the first place she went was back to the home where she almost died to see if her car was still intact.

"I couldn't believe what I did and I couldn't believe how I did it," Ritchie said.

Ritchie remains at home recovering. But she said her goal is to return to work when well enough. Meanwhile, she said Elizabeth Lowe is out of the hospital and doing well.

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