GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Bridgitt Hutchison was awoken to the sound of faint yelling in her Starkville apartment. Still in a daze, she thought her TV was covered in dust.
"Then I hear somebody else say fire, then I'm like that wasn't dust that was smoke," said Hutchison.
Hutchison and her close friend, Taylor Reeves, who are both seniors at Mississippi State University, were roommates at Avalon Apartments located a few miles from the college's campus.
"She flung open my door, and she was like 'Taylor we got to go we got to get out get out,'" said Reeves.
Reeves grabbed her dog, and the two bolted toward the door. Remembering an elementary school fire safety lesson, Hutchinson proceeded with caution, first touching the door to see if it was hot.
"I opened the door and just a pile of smoke flew in from the front door thick heavy black smoke," said Hutchison.
In a panic, they burst out the door of their third-floor apartment, seeing flames just feet away as they escaped.
"We look up and our apartment where we just were is totally in flames," said Reeves
Those left with no other option had to jump from their balconies.
"If we would have stayed up there for another minute that would have been us having to jump from the third-floor balcony," said Hutchison.
Reeves says if it wasn't for Hutchison's quick thinking she doesn't know if she would be alive to tell the story.
"I'm thankful for Bridgett for waking me up because I don't know what the outcome would have been if I would have still been there. I had fans on. I was sound asleep," said Reeves.
The young ladies who are less than a month away from graduation lost everything in the fire, but have gained a greater appreciation for life.