Father rescues family from burning home

Written by Deon Guillory – bio | email & By Gene Petriello bio | email

HENRICO COUNTY, VA (WWBT) - A family of five is forced out of their home and a father's perfect timing and quick thinking helped to keep the situation from getting worse.

A two-story house on Beech Avenue and Vine Street in Highland Springs caught on fire around 12:30 Thursday morning.

Firefighters say when they got there they could see heavy flames coming from the second floor.

The mother and three children were inside sleeping when the fire started. The father came home, saw the flames and went in the house to get his family. No one was hurt.

Firefighters tell me this was a tough fire to battle because of the old construction style used to build the house, something not found in new homes.

It's unknown if the family had working smoke detectors. The Red Cross is helping them this morning.

This morning, we talked with the father, Terrance Lee, about the whole ordeal. He tells us he was on his way home when he saw fire coming from the upstairs bedroom around midnight last night. The father says that is where his 17 year old sleeps.

He then quickly ran into the house, gathered up all 3 of his children along with his wife, and got them out of the home as quick as he could.

We were able to obtain some home video of the fire, courtesy of Debbie Funai. You can see in the video the flames shooting through the roof of the home.

That is what dad Terrance Lee came home to on his birthday. His children, ages 2, 9 and 17 were inside, along with his wife. All were sleeping, but the 17 year old.

Neighbor Clifton Bates woke up to the commotion and talked with Terrance about the rescue. "He jumped out of the car, kicked in the front door and ran upstairs hollering fire, fire."

Luckily, everyone got out alive. Terrance says the 17 year old was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. But he was released a short time later.

Before that, Clifton sat with the three children on his front porch, watching the memories they have at their home, go up in flames.

"We just talked with them. Hugged them. Just kept being with them," says Clifton. "It was just terribly upsetting. No particular conversation except calm down and everything will be alright."

All of this, as Henrico Fire crews worked to put out the flames on a fire they call, significant.

"Good, hard working people. It always happens to the best for some reason," adds Clifton.

In the daylight this morning, you could see children's toys scattered about: some charred, others mangled from the heat.

This as many in the community are glad Terrance was able to save his loved ones. "It's like he was being pushed to come home. He came home in the nick of time for that baby, maybe the whole family," says Bates.

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