ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. - Bill Parsons is at a rehabilitation center working hard to recover from hip surgery, but it's nothing compared to the emotional wounds he's struggling with.
Tracy, his wife of nearly 20 years, died Sunday morning when a fire broke out in their Elizabethton home.
"At some point in time the fire broke out and she smelled it, or saw it, or heard it. Tracy could have gotten out of the house but she went to the far end of the house where [our daughter and grandchild] Esther and Aiden were sleeping and started pounding on the door," says Bill Parsons.
The couple's daughter Esther and her 4-year-old Aiden were able to crawl out a window with the help of some good Samaritans passing by.
We're told they tried to get in to help Tracy, but say the smoke was too thick and the fire too hot. "Esther and Aiden wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Tracy," says Parsons.
Parsons believes his wife could have used several exits to get out of the house but instead ran to help her daughter and grandson. "She died doing what she always did, taking care of her children," he said.
Now the family is trying to cope with the loss of a wife, sister, mother and grandmother.
We're told the home is owned by the Valley Forge Free Will Baptist Church and at one time was the church parsonage.
It was actually some church members who spotted smoke and helped rescue the two people Sunday morning.
Bill Parsons tells us the home did have working smoke detectors.