PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Seven people including, five children were forced out of a home after a fire broke out Wednesday.
According to an eyewitness, the fire started around 8 a.m. at a home in the 1700 block of Randolph Avenue. Petersburg officials said when crews arrived, heavy fire was visible from the back of the home.
No one was injured but two adults and five children were displaced. They are being assisted by the American Red Cross.
Petersburg Battalion Chief Christopher Magann told 8News that there were nine dogs inside the home — the mother and eight puppies. Only one of the puppies made it out alive.
Following an investigation, Magann says the fire was caused by an electrical issue.
The family’s next door neighbor, Helen Jones, was awake when the house erupted in flames.
“The whole porch was in flames. I could hear the puppies crying,” she told 8News. “The first thing you think about is family.”
After Petersburg firefighters broke into the front door, Jones said her boyfriend broke down the back door to try and save the puppies.
“I’ve seen fire on TV or what have you, but to see it in person, it’s scary,” Jones said.
She told 8News they couldn’t save the puppies, but Magann said one puppy got out of the house on its own and was saved.
Magann said colder temperatures paired with increased heater use brings more fires this time of year.
“We’ve been fortunate to have very few fires here recently. Unfortunately, this time of year they start to pick up,” said Magann.
Jones said she thanks God she was home to be able to help the family.
“I thank God that everybody made it out okay,” Jones told 8News.
Jones is asking for donations to help the family and plans to create a GoFundMe to assist them.