An elderly woman in a smoke-filled, burning home greeted her rescuers with a baseball bat early Wednesday because she thought they were intruders, Lincoln County sheriff’s investigators said.
Deputies who responded to the house shortly after midnight ended up rescuing the woman and her husband.
A passing driver called the Lincoln County Communications Center after seeing flames shooting from a window air conditioning unit and from the side of the home in the 6600 block of N.C. 27 West, the sheriff’s office said.
The woman’s husband extinguished the fire in the air conditioning unit with a garden hose, but the fire apparently burned into the side of the house, according to investigators.
Deputies who responded to the call with firefighters and EMS asked several neighbors if anyone was still inside and were told they could not get anyone to the door.
A deputy managed to release a dead bolt so officers could get inside. They didn’t see flames in the home but could feel the heat. Smoke was filling the house when they encountered the woman, who seemed disoriented as she held the bat, investigators said. She told the officers she thought someone was breaking into her home.
An officer grabbed the bat and told her she needed to get out of the house because it was on fire. Officers helped her outside. Her husband came into the kitchen and was also told to head outside.
The couple were checked by Lincoln County EMS for smoke inhalation. Firefighters extinguished the fire.