Franklin St. fire survivor heartbroken over those lost - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Franklin St. fire survivor heartbroken over those lost

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EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) -

One of the survivors of the deadly Franklin Street apartment fire is out of the hospital. He's sharing his story. 

Michael Lankford was inside the apartment building when the flames broke out on Monday afternoon. He was able to escape, but his dad, 76-year-old Donald Lankford, was one of three people who died in the fire.

Michael says he's grateful to be alive and out of the hospital, but heartbroken at the loss of his dad and the two others, Keri and Jazmine Jones. 

"It was just chaos. Everything reminded me of what happened," Michael shared with 14 News. 

He says everywhere he goes, memories of the fire haunt him. 

"At the hospital, once I gained consciousness, after that I couldn't sleep. Every time I'd sleep, I would see smoke and hear the girls screaming," he says.

Michael was watching TV in his apartment that day when he noticed smoke. He opened the door to the hall and saw it was engulfed in flames. 

Michael says, " Horror, pure horror." 

He immediately started yelling for people to get out, but he says, at that point, he already knew.

"It was just hopeless. There was no way out," he shares. 

To try and escape, Michael punched out the kitchen window. He turned to try and help anyone he could, but the smoke was so strong he couldn't see anything. He jumped out the window and then helped the other survivors get out.

"It's a miracle I even made it out," he says. "If I hadn't have made it out, my nephew and that little girl wouldn't have got out." 

Michael says he's trying to figure out how to move forward after losing his home and the man he called the most important man in his life, his dad.

"I'm just totally devastated. I lost everything I own," Michael says. "All I can do is hold him right here. That's all I got is his memory.

Many people have been back to the scene to pay their respects. There's also going to be a vigil here at the house Friday at 7:00 p.m. 

There are two donation funds set up. One is at Fifth Third Bank under Mike Lankford family or Franklin Street fire victims. 

The other is at the Heritage Federal Credit Union and it's called the Jazmine Jones Memorial Fund. 

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