Midtown Fire Sends Families Outside Early Friday

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A fire forced dozens of residents from the Gallery on Washington Luxury Apartments and into the streets early Friday morning.

Fifteen-year-old Michael Ford had a brush with death around 2 a.m.  He woke to hear his brother screaming his name, smoke alarms going off, and a mission to get his elderly grandfather out of the burning building.

"He helps me, and I help him in the house,' Ford said, still looking up at a charred window on the fourth floor.  'My dream: I would like to be in the NBA - for him.'

But, Ford was in survival mode.  He stayed there, even after city firefighters gave the all-clear to go back to bed.

"I was up all night,' the teen shook his head.  'I couldn't go to sleep.  It was serious."

Still, Ford considered himself and his family lucky.  He was allowed to return just over an hour after crews knocked down a blaze on the top floor.

"The other people that live over here,' he pointed to the units on the opposite end of the building from where he lived.  That is where the flames shot through the roof.  'They had to wait because of the fire, and it was water dripping down.

Ford said that could have easily been the worst day of his life.  But since everyone got out okay, he just chalked it up to the date on the calendar.

"If you think about it, it's Friday the 13th.  So, bad luck,' he was finally able to laugh, a little.

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