Action News 5 Special Report: Miracle Baby - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Action News 5 Special Report: Miracle Baby

The comforting sounds of a baby beginning to talk...they are sounds that take on special meaning for Frankie Mitchell and Orlando Elliott.

"Sometimes I just want to cry when I look at her," Elliot said in a recent interview. "Just cry out of joy."

Mitchell agreed.  "We got another chance with our baby."

On the third of April, at 7:00 p.m., baby Orlandrea Elliot was staying with her grandparents, Joe and Alma Elliot, when a gas leak ignited, erupting into flames.  The explosion leveled their home, and the couple was badly burned.  Also burned was their grandson, Michael, who was holding nine-month-old Orlandrea at the time.

The blast ripped the baby from Michael's arms.

"Once I got on my Mom's street, I just see a great ball of fire, and ambulances and fire trucks everywhere," Orlando Elliot said.

Firefighters quickly located everyone in the house - except baby Orlandrea.  Crews searched for hours in the darkness, until rain and thunderstorms forced them to stop.

"I was hurting so bad," mother Frankie Mitchell said.

Around 9:30am the next day, the search resumed.  Firefighters, family, friends and fellow neighbors worked together, climbing through the rubble, searching for any sign of young Orlandrea.

"I was just thinking, 'I miss my baby.  I want her.  I need her back,'" Mitchell said.
Then, a miracle...15 hours after the explosion, firefighters found the baby in the destroyed home's basement.  She was wedged inside some tattered insulation, covered by a roof shingle.

"I opened that blanket up, and I seen her eyes...just had tears of joy," Orlando said.

When she was pulled from the rubble, baby Orlandrea was suffering from second and third degree burns over much of her body. She was taken to one of the best burn centers in the southeast: Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Georgia.
As Orlandrea began recovering from her wounds, her amazing story of survival gave birth to a new moniker, "miracle baby."

"My friends and everybody said they want to get her name tattooed on their body," Orlando said. 

After two weeks in the hospital, Orlandrea was released.  Bandages still covered her most severe burns, but she seemed to hardly noticed them.

Orlandrea's parents said their faith has helped them work through the incident and its aftermath, and they can't wait to tell their baby girl her miraculous story when she gets older.
The other people inside the home at the time of the explosion remain hospitalized.

Click here to send an email to Andrew Douglas.

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