Still in her bare feet, Michelle Cockrum escaped her burning house with nothing more than the T-shirt and jeans she was wearing and her cell phone in hand.
"It was less than five minutes; it was up in flames--the whole house," she said.
On Monday afternoon, Michelle said noticed smoke coming from underneath the house. While Michelle and her boyfriend, who also made it out safely, watched the home they were living in burn, the relentless wind and the dry grass fueled the flames and caused the fire to spread.
"They were moving fast, probably five to six foot flames," explained Gary Wirth, the Willard Fire Department Chief.
At least 7 departments rushed to the fire on the western edge of Greene County near Ash Grove. "We were very worried about other houses," said Jamie Kilburn, the Bois D'Arc Fire Protection District Chief.
The fire came within about 25 feet of Lucas Long's home. "Don't take much," said Long. He had grabbed a garden hose to ward it off until crews arrived. After several hours, firefighters contained the blaze. Some 20 acres were charred.
While Michelle and her family lost just about everything in the fire, they gained the generosity of a stranger. Michelle's mom told her a man was offering the family help after finding out what happened.
"He seen it from the highway and he came and volunteered to put them up in a motel," said Tammy Johnson.
There's one other thing Michelle has --that cell phone--it means the world to her. It has pictures of her 6-month old son, Michael Jacob, who passed away in December.
So much tragedy has Michelle's mother wondering, "Why again?"
Michelle says she has no choice, but to press on. "I just got to think of the things I still have; I still have my family; I still have my friends."
The cause of the fire is under investigation.