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Hero mom thankful son recovering from burns

By BY J.R. ORTEGA - JRORTEGA@VICAD.COM
May 29, 2012 at 12:29 a.m.

Betty Hamilton was thankful that no one died in a house fire Monday, when she was alerted by her son Charles Larkins, then pulled him away to safety. The 75-year-old mother lost everything in the fire, but saved her son.

How to help

•  Betty Hamilton - Pants, size 12; shirts, large

•  Robert Jones - Pants, size 30 by 40; shoes, size 10; shirt, 2X

•  Johnny Jones - Pants, size 36 by 34; shoes, size 12; shirt, 2X

•  Jimmy Jones - Pants, size 36 by 32; shoes, size 12; shirt, 2X

•  Charles Jones - Pants, size 42 by 34; shoes, size 12; shirts, 3X

•  To donate money or other supplies to the Crossroads Chapter of the American Red Cross, call 361-573-2671, or visit their website.

A tired and sore 75-year-old Betty Hamilton still doesn't know what propelled her to run into a burning home and save her 58-year-old son on Memorial Day.

But whatever it was, she - and her family - are extremely thankful.

"I was just in shock," Hamilton recalled. "His hair was on fire. His face was all black. I don't know. I just don't know how I did it, but I'm glad I did."

Her son, Charles Larkins, was on oxygen at the time of the blaze, which happened near Hilltop Drive and state Highway 185. Hamilton believes a cigarette not properly extinguished sparked the fire.

On Tuesday, Larkins was recovering well at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, family members said. He was expected to be out of the intensive care unit and in a regular room by Wednesday. He suffered several second-degree burns.

Hamilton, a thin woman with arthritis, had been sitting on the porch when she heard Larkins yell.

"He yelled, 'Momma,'" she said, her voice shaken. "I don't know how I got him out, but I did."

Hamilton, and the other three sons she lives with, Robert, Jimmy and Johnny Jones, spent the night in an unlivable mobile home behind their home, which is now partly burned and mostly smoke-damaged.

The American Red Cross Crossroads Chapter in Victoria helped the family find a hotel to stay in and has also helped with food.

Any help the family can get, they are thankful for, Jimmy Jones said.

"You see what we've got on. ... This is all we have," he said.

"You've got to take it all for granted," Robert Jones chimed in.

The family is hoping to have Larkins home by the end of the week.

Even though their house was not insured, they remain hopeful for how everything will work out. After all, the two more important treasures were saved - "Momma" and Larkins.

"I could have lost my momma and my brother," Robert Jones said. "Thank the Lord they're still here. God wasn't ready for him."

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