Firefighters face tough obstacle putting out Dinwiddie blaze

DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) - It was a frightening morning for one couple who woke up to find their Dinwiddie home on fire.

Firefighters faced some challenges putting out the fire on Elsie Drive off River Road. Neighbors say they called 911 immediately when they saw flames shooting from the back and the front of the home.

Firefighters say the couple who lived here woke up to the smell of smoke around 5:00 a.m. then ran to a neighbor's house for help. As soon as fire fighters arrived, they were faced with an unexpected road block.

"There was no floor to walk on," said Dinwiddie County Fire and EMS Chief Dennis Hale. "You were on top of stuff. Secondly, you can't see, so you're going on feel and the layout of the house from the outside."

The biggest challenge for firefighters was actually getting through the front door. They had to remove piles and piles of belongings just to gain access. Chief Hale says his men had to plow through about four feet of possessions. They say all that stuff worked as fuel for the fire, as well.

"When you get into that kind of stuff, it can be confusing for the firefighter and really dangerous for them because they get tangled and can't see where they're walking," Chief Hale pointed out.

It took crews about an hour to get the fire under control. However hours later, they were still sifting through the burnt belongings. Chief Hale says they didn't hear any fire alarms when they arrived. He says this is a good reminder to make sure your smoke detectors work.

"It's especially important with the colder weather coming on," added Chief Hale. "We haven't had a lot this winter and people have probably let some things slide with checking their chimneys and heating devices that need to be serviced."

Investigators confirm the fire started from food left cooking on the stove. The older couple was with neighbors while fire crews worked, but one neighbor says they were too distraught to speak on camera. The Red Cross is currently assisting the victims who made it out safely.

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