HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- A mother of seven recalled a familiar face while watching the Friday morning news. She recognized Hanover Fire Lt. Brad Clark's picture because he helped rescue her children back in March.
Christy Ann Anderson, her husband and their seven children were sleeping inside their Rural Point Road home when a tree came smashing down.
"From the bathroom back the whole half of the house was just gone - just gone," Anderson remembered.
Four of her seven children were still trapped inside as firefighters arrived on scene.
"I could see the floor and a bed laying on top of the beds, so I instantly thought they had been flattened," Anderson stated. "I remember just freaking out. I didn’t know if something shifted and fallen on top of them."
Hanover Fire Lt. Brad Clark from Station 6 lead the rescue mission and successfully managed to free all the children without injury.
"In the midst of the night I went back to thank Clark and his team for the amazing job they had done saving my children," the mother recalled.
However, the man she thanked after one of the worst days of her life would end up in a tragedy of his own.
Forty-three-year-old Clark was killed and three other firefighters were injured after troopers said their firetruck was rear-ended on I-295 near Pole Green Road at 9 p.m. Thursday.
"The fire engine had its emergency lights activated while stopped in the far left lane and shoulder," Virginia State Police Public Relations Director Corinne Geller said. "A southbound tractor-trailer rear-ended the fire engine and struck four firefighters who were outside the fire engine."
Clark died at the scene.
"I was beyond grateful for him – for Lieutenant Clark. He was an angel for me and my family," Anderson cried. "He was just calm and comforting and I am thankful everyday to him."
She believed that her children are alive thanks to the heroic actions of Clark and his fellow firefighters.
"I don’t know if my children would still be here without him," Anderson said. "My heart breaks for his family and I'm thankful that I got to meet him."