Family displaced following South Richmond fire, dog fighting for life

Fire displaces family, dog fighting to live

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A South Richmond family is displaced just four days before Christmas after their home caught on fire this evening.

It happened on Balsam Road near Chippenham Parkway. One of the victims - who suffers from seizures - had to be rescued out, along with two cats and a dog.

Richmond Fire Dept. Captain Kurt Gran tells us the call came around 5:15 p.m. Friday afternoon for reports of a house fire, and arrived to heavy smoke coming from the front door.

Firefighters eventually made their way into the house, and rescued a young male before extinguishing the fire.

Homeowner Sylvia Garner is somehow keeping it together despite everything that’s going on.

She tells us that her son had suffered a seizure and had to be transported out, while her daughter made it out okay. Garner said her son was the first thing on her mind after she received the call about her home.

"I’m numb. I’m numb,” she admitted.

Garner was heading to visit her mother in the hospital when she got the disturbing call that her home was on fire.

“Oh my God, my son,” she recalled. “The first thing I thought was to get him out the house… I told him ‘Get out the house, just get out. Get out.'”

Fire crews helped him out. He was rushed to the hospital because of his health condition.

Garner’s three pets - two dogs and a cat - were also pulled from the house, with the dog receiving medical attention.

"The first arriving unit reported nothing visible upon arrival. Upon making our way to the front door, they reported heavy smoke coming from the front door,” Captain Gran said.

Firefighters have general advice for everyone during the holidays.

"Keep combustibles away from heaters. Make sure you have a working smoke detector…The number one cause of fire is unattended cooking. Don’t leave the kitchen when you’re cooking,” Captain Gran reminds residents.

Firefighters believe the fire started in the rear of the house, but no details yet on the cause of the fire or the extent of the damage. No fire-related injuries were reported.

"I don't know how it happened or why it happened,” Garner said.

As authorities work to answer that, she realizes she’s lost everything - except her loved ones who were able to get out.

"I know a lot of people would be losing it but I can’t lose it. I got to trust the God that I serve because I know he’s an on-time God and he don’t make no mistakes,” Garner said.

Captain Gran tells us that the home had to be vacated on Friday, and the Garner family will be staying with the Red Cross.

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