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'We're indebted to her': Doorbell camera shows stranger alerting Ohio family of house fire

Doorbell footage fire save
Posted at 1:27 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 23:20:01-04

FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio  — An Ohio family was sleeping peacefully early Tuesday morning, completely unaware their house was on fire, until a stranger knocked on their door.

That stranger, they said, saved their lives.

Hailey Strong said she saw smoke in the sky on her way home. When she decided to drive by, she realized a house was on fire.

"I just happened to glance over here and see it," Strong said. "Against the black sky, I was surprised I even saw it."

The family's camera doorbell captured Strong jumping out of her car, running to the house and banging on the front door.

"I didn't even realize until I was already banging on the door … I was praying that nothing exploded," Strong said.

Inside, the Ellis family barely heard Strong knocking.

"I'm a heavy sleeper," father Josh Ellis said. "When you got 11 kids, you got to get some sleep."

Finally, they all piled out of the home.

"I saw the mom come out with a baby on her hip and two kids in her arms," Strong said. "The dad was piling kids out."

Their home was destroyed, but the fire brought them one more family member.

"We're indebted to her," Ellis said. "It's kind of cliche to say somebody saved your life, but she really did."

Strong reunited with the Ellises Wednesday, the family letting her know she's invited to every event from now on.

"It's a really emotional experience because it kind of solidified that these are real people that I helped out," said Strong.

Whitney Miller at WCPO first reported this story.