Deaf couple and son survive house fire

A house fire survivor, Brittany Ellenbecker, who resides in Rochester, New York posted her video that went viral. Brittany- who is pregnant with her 2nd child, her boyfriend Garrett, and her just turned 4 year old son, Levi survived a house fire two weeks ago. Brittany was downstairs in her house fixing up breakfast for her son. She started to smell smoke then the next thing she knew, her boyfriend- Garrett (who is also Deaf) came downstairs to alert her about the fire upstairs. Within seconds, their lives changed. The Daily Moth reached out to Brittany to have her share her story.

BRITTANY ELLENBECKER: I actually believe there are angels watching over my family because my partner, Garrett, was still asleep. I was nearby in the bathroom. I was getting ready for work, picking out clothes, putting on makeup, brushing my teeth, my phone and hearing aids and getting everything set up. Then my son, who’s three, came in and told me he needed to go to the bathroom. My attention shifted to him, I changed his clothes, he went to the bathroom, brushed his teeth and after that, he wanted to eat breakfast downstairs. In midst of getting ready for work, I dropped that and went with my son downstairs. All of the sudden, a fire broke out on the exact spot where I was standing just prior.

Renca: The fire started in the bathroom upstairs. Brittany also mentioned that Garrett tried to put out the fire and ended up burning his eyebrows, eyelashes, and front hair. We asked how she was feeling right now.

ELLENBECKER: Overwhelmed. Blessed. Know why? The community has been so supportive since that day. We took a gamble, a risk to ask for help which was not an easy thing to do. We did it and we’re blown away by your kindness. We’re touched and we’ve been overwhelmed everyday. You sent clothes, food, essentials, funds for the roof repair…you know that quote, “It takes a village”?

It does indeed hold true. Without the village, we wouldn’t be able to move forward in life as we have.

Renca: We asked if she could share some important tips that she learned.

ELLENBECKER: If there is a fire, you do not have time to collect your things before you go. A fire is a beast, a monster. It moves very fast. You do not have minutes to survive, because all it takes is seconds. I have some tips for you. Make sure your outlets in the kitchen and bathroom are GFCI certified where you can click on it, and test it every month. Your fire alarm should be deaf friendly with flashing lights in any location. Test this monthly also. You should have fire extinguishers set up on every floor. They should be unexpired and you have to learn how to use them. You should clean the dryer vent pipe every spring. For your important possessions, such as a phone, charger, water, or other things, try to put them in one place so if there is a fire emergency, you can quickly grab them and go.

Renca: Thank you Brittany for sharing your story. You can see her original vlog and the Gofundme page if you would like to give support. Both links are in the transcript.

On the National Fire Protection Association website, there is a page that is specifically about tips of safety for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people with a video in sign language. We included this link in the transcript too.

Original Vlog: