Petersburg home erupts into fireball overnight - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Petersburg home erupts into fireball overnight

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PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) -
An overnight fire consumes a Petersburg house, burning it to the ground and leaving fire crews with a number of questions. It happened on the 1300 block of Custer Street.

Fire officials say the owners were renovating the property, but no one was officially living there at the time. The fire started just after 3 am. Wednesday morning. 

The structure collapsed, and flames burned homes on either side of the fire. Across the street, one home has melted siding from the heat. 

Pictures show a firey ball overtaking the property. Tracy Owens was inside her home next door. She had gone to bed just an hour before, after coming home from church. 

"It smelled like something was burning," said Owens. "And I saw orange light in my room and when I looked out the window 1320 was engulfed in flames. It was like an inferno."
     
The family of five quickly ran outside and called for help. Within minutes, they say the building collapsed and flames blew near the homes next door. 

"From the whoosh!" said Owens. "And the flames spreaded forward."
   
Watching the fire was especially trying for Owens, because she grew up there. 

"Five generations was raised up in that house," said Owens. "So, to see that house fall down like that was very emotional. To stand there and watch it burn down like that. I truly believe somebody burned this house down."

 Fire crews won't know that for sure until an investigation is complete. but that possibility is definitely on their radar. 

Thursday, fire investigators will have a cadaver crew and arson crew on scene to check the house. No one was supposed to be living there, but we're told vagrants were known to frequent the property. 

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