OKLAHOMA CITY – A stove left on at the Rockwell Plaza Apartments in October turned into a life-changing moment for Jenise Engel.
Engel lives in Florida, but was visiting her son when a fire sparked near his apartment.
Trapped with her son inside the apartment, they opened the bedroom window on the second floor.
“There was a neighbor down there saying, ‘Jump jump! I’ll catch you.’ I knew he couldn’t catch me, but I think it was enough to motivate me,” Engel said.
Her son wasn’t injured during their escape, but it was a different story for Engel.
“It hit either an electrical box or an air conditioning unit, and it shattered,” Engel said.
While at the hospital, the toughest news came.
“The infection was just really bad because of the exposure and two days later, they had to amputate it,” Engel said.
After six surgeries including two amputations on her leg, Engel is now recuperating at Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital where she is learning how to get around in a wheelchair.
She believes she was in the fire for a reason.
“I think I was there because if not, my son probably wouldn’t have woken up and gotten out,” Engel said.
She said she now wants to tell everyone to keep an emergency escape ladder in your apartment or second-story home.
“You just don’t think it’s ever going to happen but if that one way out is blocked, you need to get out,” Engel said.
Now, she’s hoping to go back home to Florida soon to continue teaching literacy.
“I understand I had to lose my leg. I’m ready to move forward and just start learning how to walk in my walker.”