It was a memorable eight hours for Marcus Thomas
, a junior basketball standout for Independence (Charlotte, N.C.)
The most important thing is Thomas is alive.
On Tuesday night, Thomas made a game-winning basket with six seconds left in a 40-39 win over Porter Ridge.
In the wee hours Wednesday morning — 3:30 a.m. to be exact — Thomas avoided tragedy within seconds as his family's home was ignited in flames.
According to this report in the Charlotte Observer
, the family lost almost all its possessions in the house, including three of the Thomas' four cars, but Thomas, his two siblings, two parents and cat Marissa made it out alive.
"I'm thinking this is a drill," Marcus Thomas told the newspaper. "I'm thinking, ‘Oh, he's just playing around,' but I looked outside my window, and the car was on fire. It was crazy. I thought I was in a movie."
Said neighbor Terry Mullens: "We could see flames in the garage, about 15 to 20 feet up above it. We could see all the trusses burning in the garage and throughout the house."
Said Mark Thomas, Marcus' father: "We made it out all safe. God is good. In that kind of situation, a lot of other things can happen. We lost everything. We've got to get Marcus some playing shoes. I don't want him to miss a beat."
Marcus, a 6-foot-2 guard, is the team's leading scorer at 14.2 points per game. His school has launched an effort to help raise money for the family at www.gofundme.com/thomasfamilyfund
"This is something I'll never forget," Marcus told the newspaper. "I'll never forget how lucky we were."