Madison Heights, VA - Three house fires in our area over the holiday weekend had one fortunate thing in common: no one was inside and no one was injured.
But fire officials say as the cold weather sets in, the number of house fires will increase.
"'What if,' that's all that's running through my mind." Runette Cabell said from the porch of her charred Madison Heights home.
She's been replaying that phrase since Thanksgiving afternoon, when her home caught fire and her children left just minutes earlier.
"When we got half way up the street, I guess the flames started bursting out the window," Cabell's daughter said four days after the fire.
reality is beginning to set in.
There isn't much left of the second story of their home -- comforters in the two bedrooms are covered in ashes, a burnt bible lays in the corner of the hallway.
Fire officials believe the fire started in the 15 year-old's bedroom.
The Cabell's believe their fire may be electrical.
Lynchburg's Deputy Fire Marshal says that's something common this time of year.
"It starts with the person to make their households and businesses safe," said Thomas Goode.
He suggests only using water resistant extension cords outside, never break off the prong from an extension cord to make it fit inside an outlet, and secure your home if going away.
Two of the three house fires in the last four days appear to have been vacant.
"We have an idea of who was here. We just want to get verification from her of exactly who it was," Goode said in front of a home on Bluff Street.
The smoke is gone but a cause is still unclear.
"It was just a white cloud. You could barely even make out the ground," one neighbor described the scene on Sunday.
But the investigation and fire threat, continue.
"You look at all this kinda stuff on the T.V., you see other people going through it. But, it really hits home when it happens to you," Cabell added.