Woman jumps out window to escape fire, Breaks knees & ribs

Juanita Parrish
Juanita Parrish

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - A woman jumps out of a window to escape a house fire. She's now in the hospital  with two broken knees, broken ribs, and a punctured lung. The fire started Thursday morning  in the 1000 block of West Washington Street in Petersburg.

The fire started between the walls on first floor and spread quickly, all 13 tenants got out alive -- some had to take drastic steps to escape the blaze.

Juanita Parrish was in her bedroom when she smelled smoke. Her brother, William Brown, knew something was wrong.

"I opened the door and a bunch of smoke and flames came at me and I slammed the door shut," said Brown.

Brown says it was like an inferno. He broke windows and climbed on the roof to escape.

"I got 14 staples in my arm. I had to do the unthinkable. I had a lot of adrenaline in my system. I had to do something," he added.

Brown's sister, Juanita, jumped out a second floor bathroom window. A neighbor, who lived downstairs, tried to catch Juanita.

"She jumped into my arms. I caught her but we both hit the ground," said Sandy Johnson.

Juanita is in the hospital with two broken knees, broken ribs and a punctured lung. In all, 13 people made it out of the 4 unit house.

Karen Johnson doesn't know how she'll pick up the pieces.

"It's sad. It's Christmas time. All my kids Christmas was in there -- me and my grand kids Christmas stuff was in there," said Johnson.

During our interview Johnson broke down -- crying. She calls the destruction devastating.

"It's very stressful," she added.

Juanita's family tells me she'll undergo multiple surgeries. They're hopeful for a speedy recovery  and grateful everyone made it out of the fire alive.

The American Red Cross is assisting displaced residents. The fire has been ruled accidental. It appears to be electrical.

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