(CBS NEWS) On January 7, 2007, Linda Stermer says she was doing laundry in the basement of her family's home when she heard her husband Todd let out a chilling scream and ran upstairs to find their living room engulfed in flames. Todd, says Linda, was in the middle of the room attempting to fight the fire. Unable to get to him, she says she fled the burning house with no shoes, jacket or cellphone.
In an interview for "48 Hours," Erin Moriarty asked Linda Stermer, "You didn't think about calling 911?" "That wasn't my first thought," answered Linda. "My first thought was to get out. Todd's gonna get out … As long as he knows I'm out … he's gonna get out."
The Stermer home was in a rural area outside Kalamazoo, Michigan, with an electrified fence surrounding the large property to help keep the couple's 31 horses safe. Without a cellphone, Linda says the only way for her to get help that day was to jump into her husband's van, which always had the keys inside, and drive to the nearest neighbor. But just as she was about to take off in the van, Linda says she saw that her husband Todd had escaped the burning house, and that she got out of the van to help him. "He's jumping around and he's patting himself. His skin is burnt terribly … I'm screaming at him, get in the van ... And he won't get in the van … I can't touch him … And, so, I get back in the van … And I lost sight of him."
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