COCOA, Fla. - Ten days after a fire that destroyed a Cocoa home, Melissa Martin and her children are trying to pick up the pieces, and the most pressing need is permanent housing.
Dayshaun Hill, 7, escaped the devastating house fire on Denton Circle with his life.
At the time, Hill was home alone in the residence he shared with his sister, father and his father’s girlfriend.
“I saw orange stuff through the blanket,” Dayshaun Hill said.
The fire was already climbing up Hill’s dresser, so he made a decision.
“I ran out of the house and saw the blinds melting in the window,” Dayshaun Hill said.
Hill ran to a gas station for help, because he didn’t want to wake the neighbors.
It took investigators an hour and a half to find Dayshaun Hill’s dad, Richard Hill.
Richard Hill told investigators he’d gone to a nearby IHop with some friends.
He was charged with child neglect.
According to fire officials, the home had no electricity and the only source of light was the candle.
Now, Martin is trying to provide a new home for her children.
Dayshaun Hill and his sister were living with their father because Martin was in jail for driving with a suspended license.
She said the community and The Red Cross has stepped up help the family.
“We’re trying to put everything back together,” she said. “I'm so lucky he knew what to do, we're all lucky. I'm proud of him, definitely proud of him.”
Richard Hill is scheduled to be back in court next month for a formal hearing on the neglect charge.