Richmond house fire under investigation - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

UPDATE: Richmond house fire under investigation

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – We have some new information on that house fire in Richmond from overnight. Investigators say it could take days before a final report is out, but the fire was likely an accident. Also, investigators are fairly certain the wiring of an AC unit may be to blame.

You can see in cell phone video--- a huge fireball just taking up the entire screen, lighting it up like a Christmas tree.

Wayne Rawlings was one of the first people to spot this fire driving by. He got there even before firefighters did. "Maybe 30 to 40 seconds once I got here the house was already engulfed. It didn't take long at all for the fire to expand."

The two guys living in this home were too shook up to go on camera. But our camera caught them here with only the clothes on their back and a blanket from the Red Cross.

One of them woke up to go to the bathroom-- saw smoke -- and then the huge fire in the living room. The two escaped through a back door.

Investigators say the fire is likely an accident and they are fairly certain it all started because of the wiring of an AC unit -- that may have been too small for the size of the air conditioner.

But there are other factors possibly involved.

"There was a big air conditioner in the front room and the wiring is suspect and you combine that with a lot of cigarette butts in the house," says Richmond Fire Capt. William M. Martin.  

That's why investigators still have work to do.

"We are wondering if over time, the heating up and cooling down of that wire melted or burnt through the insulation and it was just kind of like a time bomb waiting for the right moment," adds Capt. Martin 

Now, the innocent bystander, is ready to make sure this doesn't happen at his home. "Double check things because its not a pretty sight at the end."

There were no working smoke detectors in the home. Also, the home next door suffered some heat damage. The siding of that home melted a little bit.

There were no injuries.

Copyright 2011 WWBT nbc12. All rights reserved.  

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