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Idaho grandmother in ICU after crawling to neighbor's for help following house fire

Jill Cooley spent Christmas Eve in the ICU at Idaho Falls Community Hospital.

Jill Cooley spent Christmas Eve in the ICU at Idaho Falls Community Hospital. (Jaxon Cooley)


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AMMON, Idaho — An Ammon woman is lucky to be alive after a fire started at her home early Thursday morning.

Jill Cooley, 59, is recovering in the ICU at Idaho Falls Community Hospital after crawling from her house on East Rawson Street to a neighbor's to get help around 4 a.m.

"She was in the living room most likely wrapping presents and she fell asleep on her couch," says Jaxon Cooley, Jill Cooley's son. "It looks like a surge protector on the ground next to the couch overheated and caught the couch on fire. She had to push herself off the couch and crawl outside to the neighbor's where she passed out on the lawn."

The neighbor called 911 and ran over to save Cooley's cat and dog. The fire had spread and it was too hot to get the animals, who died in the blaze.

The Ammon division of the Bonneville County Fire District arrived in four minutes and had the fire out in three minutes, according to Capt. Jon Molbert.

"The living room and back two bedrooms suffered severe smoke damage. The kitchen had some smoke damage and some fire damage as well," Molbert told EastIdahoNews.com.

Cooley, who has nine grandchildren, has been sedated in the hospital since Thursday. She has burns on her head, forehead, fingers and hands, Jaxon says. Her nasal passages and lungs are damaged from smoke inhalation.

"She doesn't have health insurance so that's going to be the biggest challenge right now," Jaxon explained. "She's been at that home for over 30 years and now she has to start over."

Jaxon says the situation is especially hard because his mom loves Christmas and had set up decorations to celebrate the holidays.

"She told me a week and a half ago that for the first time in ten years, she's taking every single Christmas thing out that she has. She was so excited to have a lot of stuff out that was her mom's and she had been waiting to put it out. She finally did and now it's all gone," he explains.

Molbert says this unfortunate incident is a reminder for everyone to be careful when using extension cords and don't overload surge protectors. He also urges everyone to check their smoke detectors and put in fresh batteries.

Jaxon and his sister have created a GoFundMe* to help cover medical and other expenses. They hope their mom is released from the hospital soon as she begins to rebuild.

"She can't go back home so we'll see what happens next," Jaxon says. "We're glad she was in the living room and was able to get out. Had she been sleeping in her bedroom, she probably wouldn't have made it. We're so glad she's still here."

*KSL.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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