Madison Heights House Fire Displaces Five

Madison Heights, VA - A fire in Madison Heights has left a family of five without a home Sunday.

The fire started a little after 11 a.m. Sunday in the 400 block of Kings Road.

Brian Mitchell and his parents weren't home when the fire started, but his girlfriend and son were.

"I ran down the street and checked to see if my girlfriend and son were all right," Mitchell explained.

At first, Mitchell's son and girlfriend were nowhere to be found.

"I asked one of the people that was helping where was my girlfriend and son, and they said they are down the road there, they were all right," Mitchell said.

Knowing his family was all right, Mitchell says he began thinking about what could have started the fire in the first place.

"It might have been a battery, a wire that we hooked up to watch TV, that might have did it, because it started in the bedroom," Mitchell said.

Mitchell's girlfriend wasn't willing to go on camera, but says she heard the smoke detector going off, looked in the bedroom and saw what she called a small fire. The flames quickly spread to the rest of the house, though.

Gary Roakes, the Amherst County Director of Public Safety, says when his crews arrived on the scene, they had to take a strictly defensive approach, meaning the flames were too big and the smoke was too heavy to try to make entry to the building.

Thankfully, Mitchell's girlfriend and son made it out of the burning home, but Mitchell says their family pet is still missing.

"I think my cat got stuck in there, I don't know yet if he made it out," Mitchell said.

The family's smoke detector is being credited with possibly saving two lives, and the Director of Public Safety says this should be a reminder to always check your smoke detectors.

"Always make sure you check your smoke detectors, make sure the batteries are operable, and at all times change the batteries twice a year in the spring and in the fall to make sure you are protecting yourself and your family," Roakes said.

The family was renting the house, and we are told they did not have renter's insurance.

The Red Cross is helping the family until they get back on their feet.