'I didn’t think I was going to make it’: Richmond man narrowly escapes deadly house fire

'I didn’t think I was going to make it’: Richmond man narrowly escapes deadly house fire

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Kalvin Talley says he’s counting his blessings after he narrowly escaped a house fire with his life. He says he was asleep when the thickness of the smoke startled him awake.

“It was like a choking feeling like somebody got you by the throat as you could hardly breathe,” said Talley. “I’ve never been in a fire before, I was terrified.”

Kalvin says the smoke was so thick that he couldn’t even open his eyes. He says had his feel his way from the upper level of the home where he lived to the first floor just to escape.

“My instinct kicked in. I hit the floor and tried to crawl, but there was so much smoke in there it didn’t do any good,” said Talley. “I feel like I was going to pass out and I didn’t think I was going to make it, but somehow the Lord blessed me and I was able to get down the spiral stairs.”

The fire started just before 2 a.m. Friday at a house in the 200 block of Plazaview Road., just off of East Belt Boulevard.

Kalvin says he nearly passed out when he made it out of the burning home and was immediately treated by emergency services. Kalvin was treated for minor smoke inhalation, but he knew something was still very wrong.

“Something said ‘if you go back in that fire. you’re’ going to die,' and I didn’t go back in,” said Talley. “I told them somebody else was in there, it was Miss Shena, bless her soul."

The fire started just before 2 a.m. Friday at a house in the 200 block of Plazaview Road., just off of East Belt Boulevard.
The fire started just before 2 a.m. Friday at a house in the 200 block of Plazaview Road., just off of East Belt Boulevard. (Source: NBC12)

The second person still inside was a blind woman. Richmond firefighters were able to eventually locate her in the home and bring her outside.

“They got her out, but when they were giving her CPR on the stretcher - it didn’t look good,” said Talley.

Richmond firefighters say the woman died at the hospital. Kalvin says he didn’t learn of his neighbors passing until seeing it on the news.

“That just broke me down,” said Talley.

Talley says the Red Cross of Richmond was able to put him in a local hotel and that he’s receiving extra support from his family. With nothing but the clothes on his back, Kavin says he’s just trying to get his life back together, all the while grieving the loss of someone he considered a friend.

“She and I were pretty good friends we’d sit back and talk, and looked at TV together,” said Talley. “You hate for anybody to lose their lives and I don’t know what I could have done better."