Paralyzed Man Loses Wheelchair In Apartment Fire

A piece of plywood covered the front door of the College Heights apartment where Thursday morning's fire started.

Stevie Spiers was in bed when a child playing with a lighter accidentally set the bed on fire.

"The smoke, it was pretty heavy, kind of hard to breath," Spiers said. "I was kind of worried, kind of scared. I think I was more scared than worried."

A day later, Spiers was retelling his ordeal from a friend's couch. Because of a traffic accident two years ago, he's a quadriplegic. And that nearly cost him his life Thursday when he couldn't run from the flames.

"You're paralyzed," said Spiers. "You just think man, how am I going to get out of here?"

An upstairs neighbor and then a bystander carried Spiers out of harm's way. His prayer got answered.

"You depend on a higher power," Spiers said. "And hope, you have to have hope. I got out of there all right. It worked out pretty good. It worked out for the best."

Sitting next to Spiers was a charred wheelchair was pulled out of the fire debris. The problem was, it was a manual chair. It wasn't the electric chair Spiers normally used to get around. That chair was destroyed in the fire. That chair is the one friends would like to replace.

April Jarman brought Spiers to her house right after he got out of the apartment. She's trying to help her paralyzed friend because "I know he needs an electric chair to help him get around better."

Spiers can move his arms. But he can't use his fingers or his hands. That's why the electric wheelchair is so vital.

"Seeing that I'm 26 years old," he said, "it's a lot easier for me to feel independent with an electric wheelchair, because I get to go and come as I please."

Friends helped Stevie Spiers survive the Thursday fire. The same friends will do what they can to get his life back in order. If you can help Spiers, contact WLOX News.