Disabled man escapes fire, rolls to safety

It was a life or death situation for Charles Russel who physically rolled to safety after his home caught fire. (WPMI)

UPDATE: Charles Russell passed away on April 23 from injuries sustained from the fire.

A fire on broke out early Tuesday morning near Windsor Ave. and Englewood St.

Charles Russel, the resident of the home, has severe burns covering a third of his body, according to the Mobile Fire Rescue.

It was a life or death situation for Charles Russel who rolled to safety after his home caught fire.

Charles Russel is a Veteran and recent amputee, due to a battle with diabetes.

Alphonse Williams, neighbor and family friend of Russell, says this is just one of many bad things that has happened to Russell in recent months.

"He lost his mother 8 months ago and he just had one of his legs removed just a little over a month. Now his house burned down, and he got burned pretty bad so it's going to take a while. He's got a long ways to go," said Williams.

Steve Huffman with the Mobile Fire Rescue says Charles Russell got severe burns on a third of his body.

Injuries that could have been worse, if he hadn't escaped from the burning home by rolling off of the porch.

He also had help from one of his courageous neighbors.

Jeff Crawford, neighbor and former classmate of Russell, saw the tragic event unfold.

"He (neighbor who rescued Russell) heard him screaming. So he and his son ran over and saw him by the porch. He rolled off the porch so they grabbed him and pulled him far away from the house. They say they saw the burns on him," said Crawford.

After going through something so traumatic, neighbors say Russell was still very aware.

"He was still thinking even though he was hurt, he was trying to get out of there and make sure he survived," said Crawford.

"He thought about his dog, he said, don't put him in a shelter. He said, take care of my dog. I'm a dog person too and would do the same. It shows he wasn't just thinking of himself," said Williams.

The fire caused significant damage to the home leaving almost nothing behind.

His neighbors are asking for prayers and for help for the victim of the fire.

Contact Zora Asberry, Local 15 Reporter at for contact information regarding Russell's friends and family members.