By Larry Hartstein
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Mark Wohlers, his wife and their three young children escaped an early-morning fire that destroyed their Milton home Tuesday.
"Just let whoever cares about us know that my wife [Kimberly] was the hero," Wohlers told the AJC. "She got everybody up and out of the house quicker than I can blink an eye."
Kimberly Wohlers woke up her husband, then ran upstairs to get the children, 7- and 3-year-old boys and a 5-year-old girl, Wohlers said.
As the couple watched the house burn, "we just looked at each other and said, ‘Everything that's important got out safely,'" Wohlers said.
It took firefighters 45 minutes to knock down the fire. Milton Fire Chief Robert Edgar said the house is a total loss.
"The roof is made of cedar shakes and once they're involved in any kind of fire, they just take off," Edgar said. "And we had a strong wind blowing from the north. We had some difficult times."
The fire does not appear to be storm-related, Edgar said. Fire marshals have not determined the cause.
In the morning light, firefighters retrieved some of Wohlers' trophies and memorabilia from a basement room, Edgar said.
The hard-throwing Wohlers debuted with the Braves in 1991. He became the closer in 1995, saving Game 6 of the World Series to clinch Atlanta's only major pro championship.
But in Game 4 of the 1996 World Series, Wohlers gave up the three-run homer to Jim Leyritz that turned the tide for the Yankees.
From 1995 through 1997, Wohlers racked up 97 saves and 282 strikeouts in 211 1/3 innings.
The Braves traded Wohlers to the Reds in 1999, and he retired three years later.
He and his wife run a real estate firm called Team Wohlers.