In Spring 2008 I was 21, living in a council flat in Acomb, York. I used to work at McDonalds in Colton, 3 miles away from my flat & volunteer at church Youth Group on Fridays after work.

One such Friday I had completed a 9 hour shift, rode my bike to Youth Group, got done and dusted by 11pm, being awake for 25 hours I went home. (As my flat was an ice box due to central heating not working I relied on an electric heater for warmth.) I had turned on my electric heater on low temp, with lights still on I passed out from tiredness.

I sleep like a brick, all the kings horses & all the kings men could try and wake me with no avail… yet at precisely 04.08am I woke up, don’t ask me how but I did or why or who woke me… either an Angel or God, or one of his agents… anyway when my eyes opened I saw flames coming out of heater and flames around the floor of said heater… I instantly was roused up, without thinking, jumped out of my bed & ran to the kitchen for a wet cloth… (I was not thinking,) literally 10 seconds from leaping out of bed, getting into kitchen, retrieving wet cloth & returning into my room when excruciatingly hot flames were erupting from the heater, so hot that 8 feet away from the flames by the door I could not get my phone from radiator by my bed… 10 seconds later I turned off the mains box, left flat door & began banging on the flat block doors, until I borrowed a phone from another flat, got her to rouse other flats, I called fire brigade & 10 minutes later they arrived… smoke bellowing from my flat, the firemen/ women got everybody out alive, they sorted my fire & left 20 mins later. The report stated council installed faulty wiring…

I had called work to let them know problem, they allowed me time off work with all holiday pay wired to my account (£545) covered in soot, returning to my burned out flat I called a friend from church… 5am, he answered & heard my problem & instantly got up, drove to my flat, saw the damage & took me to Tesco for breakfast, back to his shared house to clean up, get dressed & helped me call council to get emergency accommodation. He told me he was alert because he had issues with his mothers health & always on standby by his phone…

My friend’s help was moving and was a big help, more that he was willing to help a lad in need. I had been going through a massively tough time in life & with church… I became a believer at 18 from having a very tough childhood, abandoned by mother, entire childhood in care homes, dodgy carers etc. to being fired from a job whilst on full time church academy, which led to being pulled out of that… It was a bad time… I repented & got a full time job at McDonald’s, stuck with church, stuck at serving and when this happened… afterwards, now in hindsight… God kept me alive, woke me up at the right time, got me to leave that room, got me to turn off power source, get everyone out the flat block alive… bearing in mind I had a horrible stutter problem, barely able to string 2 words together…

Mere seconds more & I would have died, the intensity of the electric fire would have burned through the ceiling, ripping through the flat block…

I got put up in a B&B for 2 weeks by the council, during which I did extras work for a TV show being filmed in York (Crusoe) met Sam Neil, Saw Sean Bean… got put up then into a modest flat almost free, the council did a botch repair job, knocked off many bills to take into account the mistakes on there part, I then got a job in sales (did I mention I had a very bad stutter?) & a landlord from church offered me a room in his shared house with one condition… no electric heaters…

8 years on now much stronger physically, no longer with a stutter problem, stronger in faith, in my walk with God… I look back & see that God kept me alive for a reason, he was not done with me, he has a destiny on my life… That few seconds where I was woken up, left a life long imprint, definitive proof that God exists, loves me! Whether an Angel or God himself attended or one of his agents… God was behind it! I am truly thankful… (Many are not however ha ha ha!)

Edward D Brown