• 'The house is replaceable, we're not': 6 kids, 4 adults hurt in house fire

    By: Mark Barber

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Six children and four adults were rushed to the hospital after an early morning fire on Manchester Lane in east Charlotte.

    Firefighters responded around 4:45 a.m. to the fire on Manchester Lane, just off Albemarle Road, and reported seeing flames and smoke coming from the home.

    The Charlotte Fire Department said nine people were able to escape from the house and that two of those people were being treated by paramedics.

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    MEDIC later clarified that a total of 10 people with non-life-threatening injuries were treated for burns and smoke inhalation and taken to the hospital.

    Channel 9 crews on the scene could see several people, including children, being treated by first responders.

    It took 27 firefighters about 15 minutes to get the fire under control.

    The family told Channel 9 reporter Mark Barber that when the fire started racing through the house it quickly became a death trap. They only escaped because one of them woke up in time.

    “My little brother is 18, he woke up the whole family,” said Gino Johnson. “He started screaming and they all ran out.”

    Johnson’s family barely escaped the flames but, not without injuries.

    “Everybody’s lungs, they’re making sure they are OK,” Johnson said.

    His girlfriend and their three children -- Romeo, Giovanni and Gotti -- are in the hospital after breathing in the heavy smoke.

    Courtesy: Gino Johnson

    (Romeo, Giovanni and Gotti)

    Johnson said he was on a trip 200 miles away when he learned his family was hurt.

    “I panicked. I got in my truck and I started driving fast. I was flying here, doing 100 miles an hour the whole way,” he said.

    When Johnson finally arrived at the house and started searching for his family, he was stunned by the amount of damage he found in the house. He said the home belongs to his brother and his family but both families were staying there for vacation.

    There were six children in the house when the fire started. The oldest was 4 years old and the youngest was just 5 months old.

    The firefighters who rescued the children carefully loaded them into ambulances before taking them to the hospital.

    “If it wasn’t for my brother Joey, they all would’ve been dead in the house,” Johnson said.

    He told Channel 9 they are a tight-knit Romanian family, so even though they don’t have a home to return to, at least they still have each other.

    “God is good, that’s all I can say,” Johnson said. “The house is replaceable, we’re not.”

    Johnson said his sister-in-law suffered the most serious injuries. He said she was burned and is in intensive care.

    While it will take time to recover, Johnson said eventually all 10 of his family members are expected to be OK.

    Firefighters told Channel 9 the fire was determined to have been accidental and originated in the kitchen. The home suffered roughly $45,000 in damage.

    Check back with wsoctv.com for updates on this story.

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