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Special needs child rescued from fire, victims leaning on church family

FLORENCE, Ky. (Joe Webb) -- The Arnold family home is a total loss but, thanks to a friend, everyone in the family is okay.

Ray Arnold, the youth pastor at a local church, was getting ready to fry some fish he caught earlier in the day when the oil caught fire in the kitchen.  The fire in the kitchen moved very quickly.  What made it more threatening was how quickly the house filled with smoke and upstairs, directly above the burning kitchen, was a sleeping two-year-old boy.

Michelle Arnold got her first good look at what used to be her home Tuesday morning.  Arnold says her husband Ray suffered second and third degree burns trying to carry a burning pot of oil outside.  It spilled and spread.  Family friend Jay Schultz got Arnold and two children quickly outside and ran back in for the baby.

"Jay was able to run upstairs and he put Micah under his shirt to protect him from the smoke and by the time he got out of the bedroom they couldn't see down the steps.  But he did get him out of the fire," Michelle Arnold said.
   
Micah Arnold was treated and released for smoke inhalation.  Tuesday morning, he slept in his car seat like nothing had happened.  Michelle Arnold says something special happened.

"I call that God's protection over our son.  He's a special needs child.  He does have Down's Syndrome so he's 3 years old but just walking.  So he wouldn't have been able to physically get himself out.  I think Jay was almost his angel last night," said Michelle.
   
Michelle Arnold and her two older children were able to salvage a bike and a scooter but not much else.  They do not have renter's insurance.  Ray Arnold is the youth and young adult pastor at Christ's Chapel Assembly of God in Erlanger.  The congregation has already rallied to help.

"It's been overwhelming.  All night long.  I don't think any of us slept last night.  People just wanting to donate, anything.  The Arnolds are loved at our church," said Raeford Moore of Christ's Chapel Assembly of God.
   
Michelle Arnold is grateful for the outpouring of support.  But she says she's got what she really needs.

"God protected my husband and my children.  It could have been much worse. We're all alive."

Local 12 reached out to Jay Schultz Tuesday.  He was not interested in talking.  Ray Arnold was treated last night and went to UC for burn treatment Tuesday.  His injuries are not life-threatening.

Christ's Chapel set up a trust account at 'Bank of Kentucky' to help the Arnolds with expenses.  If you're interested in donating, the church is coordinating that effort through its website.

CLICK HERE for the Christ's Chapel website.


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