Man runs into neighbor's burning home, with only a fire extinguisher

POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) - A Powhatan man ran into a burning home late Thursday night, armed with only a fire extinguisher to contain an out of control blaze.

The fire happened at 1922 Russell View Road in Powhatan, sparked on the second floor where three children were turning in for the night.

The flames quickly spread through two rooms, and one of the children ran next door to ask a neighbor for help.

"The child was shaken, right at my door, and I knew what I had to do," said neighbor Stuart Spainhour in an interview Friday. "I went right to my closet, got the fire extinguisher, and ran across my front yard."

According to Assistant County Fire Chief Pat Schoeffel, the children and their father quickly made it out of the house. Spainhour then went inside to see if he could fight the fire, and save the children's pet Chihuahua still inside.

"I was just thinking about putting [the fire] out and the little dog that was in there," Spainhour said. "I could feel the pressure of the flames… the pressure pushed part of the extinguisher back, and I was inhaling the smoke."

The intensity of the flames proved to be too difficult to fight, and Spainhour had to leave the home without the family's dog. The pet did not escape, and was later found among the ashes.

Medics took one child to Chippenham Hospital for minor injuries, and Spainhour said he was more afraid of what happened to the children, rather than the flames and smoke billowing from the home.

"I didn't see much of the flames when I was outside… because I have young kids, and I was in the ambulance with the kids as they were getting checked out," Spainhour said.

The Red Cross serving Powhatan is now helping the family to pick up the pieces and start over. State Police officials are investigating how the fire began, and a cause has not yet been determined.

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