Henrico couple helps neighbors after lightning strike sparks condo fire

Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 6:25 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - A Henrico couple is helping their neighbors after a lightning strike sparked a condo fire on July 21.

Rev. Randy Creath and Dr. Denise Janssen didn’t even think about themselves when the fire happened.

”We didn’t have time to. The lightning hit, Denise smelled the smoke before I did, and as soon as it was apparent that there was smoke. She was taking care of calling 911 and I just ran around and banged on the door, I kind of scared some of the older women because I look like a biker,” says Creath.

Janssen finishing his sentence saying, “We knew, we knew our neighbors wouldn’t be able to tell what was going on, the last thing we wanted was for folks to die from smoke inhalation.”

Marcia Gillison is hugging her parents a bit tighter. One wall separated Marvin and Hannah Rosman’s home from the raging fire next door.

“My mother just keeps saying, Randy saved my life, he saved us. She just thought maybe it was a thunderstorm,” Gillison said.

Gillison says she can’t thank Randy and Denise enough for what they did.

”These are my parents’ golden years and it’s difficult enough with the COVID thing going on, but to have lost their life in this would’ve been just devastating,” Gillison said.

Randy and Denise are staying at a hotel - where Gillison went to surprise them with NBC12′s “Acts of Kindness” Award - $300 and a $50 gift card to Mexico Restaurant.

Afterward, there was a socially distanced hug. But the couple is also feeling the love online.

A GoFundMe page is raising money to get them back on their feet, but it means more them than just dollars and cents.

”It’s the spirit of people who have been so gracious... The dollars are great, but people expressing their care and concern has been huge - we’re really grateful.

If you would like to help Randy and Denise, click here.

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