Chesterfield house fire sends flames shooting 40 feet up

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA (WWBT) - After hours of searching a home for bodies following a house fire on the 1000 block of Mansfield Crossing Road, firefighters found no one. Now, they are focusing on determining the cause of the fire that lit up the night sky.

NBC12 obtained home video that shows you just how high the flames were shooting into the sky, some as high as 40 feet, with trees surrounding the home.

Neighbor Kathleen Holmes initially heard some banging and crackling.

"Sorta sounds like fireworks. I jumped out of bed and saw this red glow from my sliding glass door. I opened the blinds and there were flames shooting as tall as the trees," says Kathleen.

She was looking at the back of the house, the same view you get from the home video. It's also right where the roof collapsed in.

"It was in the upper corner of the house and we could see it move," adds Kathleen. "We actually saw one of the sliding glass doors melt."

within 20 minutes, the massive fire was under control..

"I started wondering, was it going to catch onto the back of the house?" asks Kathleen.

Luckily, it did not, nor did any other house. Also, no firefighters were injured.

The smoke, though, lingered for hours and it took about 4 hours for firefighters to determine that no one was inside.

"The floor on the bedroom on the second floor -- the joints were burned out and that had collapsed and that's the area that we had to clear," says Battalion Chief David Throckmorton with Chesterfield Fire and EMS.

Firefighters even brought in a chainsaw to get to that bedroom.

All of this a chaotic scene in the night sky, described in one word by Kathleen: "Scary."

Right now, fire marshals are on scene trying to determine the cause of the fire. We did speak with the homeowner, who was not home at the time of the fire. She tells us the fire might have been caused by a candle she left lit in the home. We do know there was no electricity running in the home prior to the fire.

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