House fire victim is thankful to be alive

By Evrod Cassimy – bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Firefighters are still mopping up after a three-alarm fire in Richmond's Fan District Wednesday afternoon. It happened on the 2700 block Grove Avenue. The man who was home is just fine and is staying with family tonight. Firefighters will be on scene through mid afternoon Thursday trying to figure out how it all started. Exclusive video shows how hard firefighters worked to put out the house fire. The only person home at the time made it out alive and describes the moments before the fire broke out.

"I was on my computer sending somebody an e-mail and heard somebody banging on the front door and the dog started barking so I went down and saw somebody trying to break into the house," said fire victim, James Sties. "I asked them what they wanted and they said you're house is on fire!"

Firefighters will be on scene through the night as investigators determine the cause of the fire. Sties wishes he had a way to recover some of his irreplaceable belongings.

"I should have had an offsite backup for my computer files," said Sties.

"So you think you lost your computer?" asked NBC 12's Evrod Cassimy.

"Oh yeah!" said Sties. "It's a puddle on the second floor!"

The homes in The Fan are separated by just feet. Firefighters tell us that they worked hard to make sure that no other homes caught fire.

"I was certainly worried for my own house watching the smoke and the little embers that were burning flying through the air," said neighbor, William Hark.

While their neighborhood is crowded with flashing red lights, neighbors are happy that no lives were lost in the blaze.

"I wasn't hurt," said Sties. "My dog wasn't hurt. None of the fire department were hurt and the rest of it's bricks and plaster. That can all be replaced."

Sties tells NBC 12 he has no idea what could've started the fire. While firefighters will be on scene through the next day there aren't any anticipated street closings or delays.

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