COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) –
A Columbus man accused of setting his girlfriend’s house on fire appeared in court this morning, Feb. 4.
Flames ripped through the Mason St. home as a family slept inside. Nearly a dozen lives were put at risk. Most escaped, but one small child had to be rescued from the home.
Joshua Rash is the firefighter who rushed into the flames to save the little girl. He says he has been living his dream of fighting fires in Columbus for eight years.
When firefighters arrived at the home on Jan. 17, flames and billows of smoke met them at the door. Rash said he had no time to think after finding out a 6-year-old child was somewhere inside.
“She was in a bedroom in the back of the house,” recalls Rash.
Although he has fought many fires, Rash says he has never had to rescue a child before. Fortunately, they were able to find the young girl quickly. He says it appears she slept through most of it.
“Yes, she was surprised. At first, I think I was [more scared] than she was, because you know, we’re always trained but nobody’s ever there,” Rash says.
The home suffered significant damage, and Rash says they family is lucky. He says, “I was just glad we got there, and were able to get her out before it got too bad.”
The little girl and the other ten occupants escaped the fire unharmed.
Police say Eric Lamar Person, 26, allegedly called his girlfriend who lived at the house, and threatened to kill everyone inside.
“That was uncalled for,” says Rash, “Especially with children involved.”
After finding the child, rash handed her to family and joined his brothers to help put the fire out. The bashful firefighter says he is no hero.
“It’s just the job we do. It could have been anybody doing that. It just happened that I was there,” Rash says.
Person is facing nine counts of Aggravated Assault and one count of Arson after allegedly setting his girlfriend’s house on fire. He is currently being held without bond at Muscogee County Jail.
The case is being bound over to the Superior Court.