PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC)—A massive fire destroyed a Petersburg home on Custer Street the morning of New Year's Day, and neighbors think it's suspicious.
Just a few hours after 2014 arrived, a fire ravaged a vacant home at 1320 Custer St., leaving almost nothing behind. One firefighter told ABC 8 News it was one of the biggest fires he'd ever seen, and for some neighbors on the street, the damaged home meant a lot to them.
"It just looked like a big explosion," said Lona Blizzard, who lived next door.
She couldn't believe her eyes when the house caught fire at 3:21 a.m. on Jan. 1.
"Like, everything was up [in] flames," Blizzard said. "Things were crashing down. It was just a scary sight to be so close."
As a new year begins, decades of memories are now gone. Though no one was living in the house at the time, Blizzard says her family used to live there.
"This house has been through five generations of our family," she said. "Just to wake up and see this house on fire … all of our family memories, all those things gone now."
The massive flames spread to three other homes, but thankfully, damage was minor and no one was hurt. Even though firefighters put the blaze out in just 15 minutes, the fire left barely anything behind.
Investigators say the house was actually just purchased and electricity was turned on, which may have been a factor, but they're also not ruling out arson.
"We're still digging, searching and sifting, trying to find a point of origin, and hopefully a cause," said Assistant Petersburg Fire Marshall Marlow Jones.
Investigators will remain at the scene 24/7 to protect it until they get some answers.
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