South Richmond house fire likely caused by furnace malfunction

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Three people were inside the home, when the fire started just after 7 a.m. Monday morning. While it doesn't seem to be damaged much from the outside, inside it's a different story.

The three people living there are safe, and so is their pet, thanks to their quick thinking and the windows on the side of the home.

It certainly was a scary wake up call this morning for Mykale Adams. "My little brother woke me up yelling, 'Get out. Fire.' I saw a lot of smoke in the room and I saw the fire in my furnace."

He saw only one safe way out. "Me and my girlfriend hopped out of our window. My brother hopped out of his window. We were just outside with just covers on," he said.

This, as Mykale watched the Richmond Fire Department surround his home in the 1400 block of Willis Street. Neighbors say they heard a loud boom this morning. Fire crews say when they got here, there was a lot of smoke. When they went inside, there were flames on the first floor.

"I was sitting, looking in the window from the outside of the house thinking I was about to lose everything," Adams said.

We're told it took less than 15 minutes to put the fire out. The Red Cross is helping Mykale out now. But earlier this morning, it's Mykale's neighbors that really came to the rescue.

"They clothed me. These aren't even my clothes I have on. It's funny how people ban together when something bad happens," Adams said.

It appears the furnace is to blame for this mess. That's a trend the Richmond Fire Department is starting to see. Now that the weather is getting colder, the number of calls for furnace and other heating problems, is increasing.

"Take the time now to go out and look in the phone book for a licensed provider to service your furnace and heaters," said Lt. Shawn Jones with the Richmond Fire Department.

That way you can avoid problems, like Mykale dealt with this morning. "I just planned a big thanksgiving dinner at my house. Now, that can't happen."

Mykale says he does have smoke detectors, but didn't hear them go off this morning.

He does have insurance, which hopefully will help pay for some of the damage inside the home.

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