Survivor says faith powered plunge from blazing trailer

Carlyss fire survivor tells how he escaped

Earlier this week we told you about a fire in Carlyss — where a wheelchair-bound man escaped through a window. His name is Philip LeJeune, but everybody calls him Jimmy. And the 78 year old says he was saying his prayers early Sunday morning when he realized he was trapped inside a burning house.

It was about 4 a.m. Sunday when LeJeune, who has only one leg, heard the smoke alarm and realized he was trapped inside his burning trailer on Ravia Road. "I got up and opened the bedroom door and it was just a big black cloud of smoke. Couldn't see a thing. So, I shut the door and I called on the only man I knew could help. 'Oh, my God, help me!'"

And Jimmy, as he's called, managed to knock out the window with what he calls his peg leg, suffering some cuts in the process.  "And something told me to kick the window out and I kicked the window out."

Jimmy had some 600 crosses and angels in the trailer and is now working to clean them. "They was in the bedroom, the living room, the kitchen, down the hall, in the back bedroom. Even some in the bathroom."

But he says they are not what will get him to heaven.  "People say you must be going to heaven, but I tell them, 'No ma'am. That there is just pretty 'cause it's not going to get me nowhere if I don't do what I'm supposed to."

He admits he hasn't always been good. "When I was 18 years old I was drinking, and running, and getting drunk, fighting, in jail every weekend."

But says thanks to an older sister, he started studying the Bible and changed his life. "And the best thing I've ever done was ask God what I could do for Him and He said, 'Pray for people.' And I've been praying for people ever since."

And so, in an old red Big Chief tablet he started in 1977, are pages of names of people for whom he prays daily for about four hours a day.  He tells people, "God is all merciful and through God all things are possible."

Jimmy is staying at his baby sister's and is technically homeless right now. Yet he keeps the faith.  "God provides. I'm not worried about it."  So far, the biggest problem has been replacing his dentures that burned up in the fire.  "If somebody can find somebody who will accept Medicare that's be fine. If they don't, well something else will work out."

Jimmy says he's confident he'll find a new place to live and he's eating soft food until he figures out a way to get new dentures. He welcomes anyone who wants to be added to his prayer list to call his cell phone at 337-693-9595.

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