TEN MILE, Tenn. — Anna Dobos was driving to work Friday morning on a dark country road in Roane County when a flicker deep in the woods caught her eye. You can call what happened next fate, because that's what she calls it.
"This is a miracle. Because I have no idea how I saw that. If it had been summer when there are leaves on the trees, I would not have been able to see it. For some reason, I just happened to see this orange glow," said Dobos.
Dobos slammed on brakes, threw the car in reverse on River Road, and pulled into the driveway of 85-year-old Leroy Hallcox. Dobos knew Hallcox from church.
"I could see a little bit of fire by the chimney. I started banging on the door and I wasn't getting a response. I called 911, but we're really far out here. I have got to go help him. Nobody's going to be able to get here in time," said Dobos.
Dobos rushed next door to the home of Hallcox's son and daughter-in-law.
"Anna was pounding and screaming and said there was a fire. I could see a fire on the roof. It was horrifying and scary," said daughter-in-law Pat Hallcox.
"I was hoping Gary [Hallcox] was home. He had already gone to work. So I asked Pat to get me a hammer," said Dobos.
Dobos sped back to the burning home, ran up the balcony stairs to the upstairs entrance of the house, and began hammering a hole in the door.
"I punctured a hole in the wooden door and was able to open it. The upstairs was engulfed in flames. It was like a waterfall with fire and insulation pouring out of the ceiling. I was hollering and didn't know if I made it back in time to get him. That was really scary," said Dobos.
While fire consumed the upstairs, Dobos finally heard a response from the ground level.
"Then I heard a voice of hope. And he called up, 'Whatcha doing up there?' He didn't know there was a fire," said Dobos.
Dobos said Hallcox was fortunate to be on the ground level with a separate door to exit.
"I ran down the balcony stairs and said, 'We have got to go! We have got to get out of here!' I mean, it was cracking and popping and then the windows blew out. I was just so thankful I got him out," said Dobos.
Dobos and Pat Hallcox tended to Leroy and drove him safely away from the house. By then, the entire home was ablaze.
"It happened so fast. From the time I saw this orange glow, just 15 minutes later the whole house was engulfed in fire," said Dobos.
"We had a guardian angel that just happened to drive by at the right time. And it could have been a world of difference if she had not have been," said Pat Hallcox.
Dobos shies away from being called a hero. But she thinks fate was involved. In recent years, she changed careers from a horse trainer to pursue a job in the medical field. She works with patient care at Roane Medical Center and is a nursing student at Roane State Community College.
"It feels like I'm answering God's call. I was here at the right time and had the right kind of training to help others. But I also hope anyone else would have done the same thing," said Dobos.
Chief deputy Tim Hawn with the Roane County Sheriff's Office said Dobos is a hero. He hopes to formally honor Dobos for her bravery with recognition at an upcoming county commission meeting.