Owosso Fire Survivors Speak

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

"I can't believe we're alive. Honestly I can't believe we're alive."

19-year-old Stephanie Ashenden says it was around 6 a.m. on the Fourth of July when her friend Carolyn Skodak smelled smoke. That's when she tried getting her three other friends in the house up and out. They had all stayed the night celebrating Carolyn's 21st birthday.

"You cannot breathe," Carolyn says. "You can't even see what's in front of your face because the smoke was so black."

And Stephanie was slowly losing consciousness.

"She ripped out the screen of the window and pushed my head out the window so I could breathe," she recalls of Carolyn.

"Some of my friends' legs were so hot. Their skin was sticking together, it was so awful," says Carolyn.

"Next thing I knew, Carolyn was saying she couldn't take it any more. Our backs were getting burned," Stephanie continues.

That's when Carolyn went to the window ledge and dangled her body out the window.

"I was just like floating down. And my feet hit the ground and my heels and I went BAM! I just whipped myself up and I don't remember getting my leg untangled."

Stephanie climbed down and saw Carolyn on the ground. Today Carolyn has a broken tailbone, two fractures in her spine and a slipped disk.

"I was like, I'm not dying here. This is [silly]. I'm not going to burn to death," Carolyn says.

Both have bruises but say they're happy to be alive.

"I thank God that He made me wake up, you know, because If I wouldn't have woken up," Carolyn surmises, " I would have been dead, too."


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