Jump… or die.
That was the choice Krystal King faced Oct. 11 when she awoke to find her apartment building ablaze.
King said the flames were not what woke her.
She said she heard a lot of noise and commotion outside and when she got up to find out what was going on, she smelled something burning.
It was her apartment.
She heard someone outside screaming: “Fire, fire, fire!”
“I am so thankful because it could have been way worse,” King said. “I could have slept through it.”
King opened the front door of her second-story unit at the Patriot Plaza Apartments and was greeted by flames.
“I slammed the front door, and I froze,” she said. “I stood back for a second, and I saw black smoke coming from the top of the door. I kind of felt like it was the end right there.”
King said there was only one option if she wanted to survive.
She ran to her bedroom and heard someone outside yelling: “You have to jump!”
“I said to myself, ‘Either you jump, or you’re going to die in this apartment,’” King said.
King decided to jump.
She managed to escape the fire but not without injuries.
“As soon as I hit the ground, I could feel pain in my back and pain in my arm,” she said. “I knew right then that something was wrong with my toe or my foot.”
King said she broke her pinky toe and was also left with bruises and scratches on her arm. It will take her more than a month to recover from the broken toe.
She was one of two people hurt during the fire that day and was one of 12 who lost their homes. King had called the apartment home for more than two years and lost nearly everything she owned.
“I said to myself, ‘Lord, I just lost everything. Everything is gone,’” King said. “Every time I think about it, it is still surreal to me. I cannot believe that I went through that.”
King said she has not been able to work because of her injuries but hopes to return to work soon. In the meantime, she is sleeping on family members’ couches as she looks for a new place to live.
King’s sister started a GoFundMe to help her replace her belongings and rebuild her life. You can donate here.
Despite all she’s been through, King still has a positive spirit.
“[It is] because of God,” she said. “I am thankful that I was able to get out of that apartment because it could have been way worse.”