LARGO, Md. -- A father flipped and crashed his car while racing home after learning his house was on fire and his children were inside Wednesday morning in Largo, Maryland.
“He was flooring it,” witness Khesean Jackson told WJLA. “It was gone once he hit the medium it started wiggling like I said and it started tumbling and went over to the north side of Central Avenue.”
Witnesses raced to the flipped vehicle to help driver trapped inside. After they got him out, Jackson said he tried to keep the man calm.
Jackson said Carlo Pettigrew told him that he had received a phone call from his 13-year-old daughter that the family’s house was on fire and that his children and family dog were inside.
Pettigrew's SUV spun out of control just blocks from the family's townhome.
“I don't know anything,” the man’s wife, Consuelo Pettigrew, said. “All I know is that my husband was trying to get home and they wouldn't tell me when I got here, they wouldn't even bring me this way, they brought me the back way.”
Pettigrew said when she got to her house she had no idea whether her children or her husband were ok. She said her three children and her niece and the family dog where inside the townhome when the fire broke out.
Pettigrew’s daughter told WUSA it was a normal morning until she heard the smoke detectors.
"I was getting out of the shower and getting dressed. Carson, my brother, Carson, he's downstairs watching Cartoon Network, as usual," she said. "Then I come downstairs and there's a big fire, and I'm freaking out. I don't know what to do, my phone is downstairs, my dog is downstairs, Carson is just sitting there, so I say, ‘Carson, stay calm.’"
Carson said he ran to get his Uncle Antwan, who lives nearby. While the 7-year-old got help, his 13-year-old sister called her dad.
"There's a fire in the house, and I think she said, 'We're in the house,'” Carlo Pettigrew said. “And I told her to get out of the house and then the phone went dead. I don't know if she hung up, but I just got in the car and drove as fast as I could.”
He then hit two curbs and flipped his car, a half mile from his house. That left him upside down.
"Everything was in slow motion,” Pettigrew said. “I just thought about my kids. That I was going to lose my children and I wasn't ready for that."
As a result, he crawled out of the overturned car and ran the half-mile home, where Antwan was trying to put out the fire.
"I'm beating it with the rug, beating it with the rug, and my wife came behind me and she's giving me water to put the fire out, and we couldn't do nothing," Antwan Parker said.
Firefighters soon arrived. As they were putting out the fire, Carlo ran to the home – and hugged his children, who had made it out safely with the family dog.
"I was just happy, you know, they're still alive and I feel blessed," Pettigrew said about when he arrived and learned his children were safe.
Carson was relieved his father made it home so quickly.
"I was really glad, I was just really worried about my mom because she's more crazy than my dad," Carson said.
While the family’s home and SUV were damaged, Pettigrew is thankful no one was hurt.
"That's all I really care about is my family," Pettigrew said.