News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012
EVANS, Ga. -- An Evans family is forced to find a place to stay after their home went up in flames on Wednesday.
Luckily no one was inside the home on Bridlewood Trail and firefighters were able to rescue the family's dogs. Now investigators are sifting through the ruins, looking for a cause.
At about 12:30 p.m. a neighbor saw smoke and knocked on the front door of the Hood family home. When no one answered, she called 911.
"When I got here, I ran to the house, looked at it for about five seconds, turned around, and just fell down," explained Blayne Hood.
Hood was just a few miles away when he got the call that his home was on fire.
"I moved here when I was four, so this is the only place I've ever known. Complete loss for words," he said.
His mother came home moments later.
"Devastated. She was worried about the dogs, first thing," Hood said.
The family's two Pomeranians were rescued from the laundry room where they were trapped.
"We've got TVs, stereo systems, X-Boxes, none of that really mattered, all we cared about were the dogs," Hood said.
Neighbor and family friend Ryan Gram followed the fire trucks, not knowing they were responding across the street.
"Firetrucks coming down Furys Ferry towards my neighborhood is just something that you don't see very often. I just fell into a state of shock, didn't know what to do didn't know what to say," Gram said.
Firefighters say the blaze started upstairs or in the attic.
"When it gets into the attic like that, it will walk from one end to the other very very quickly. It's extensive fire damage, extensive water damage," said Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue Special Operations Chief Danny Kuhlmann.
And in full gear, those crews were working in some extreme heat.
"Working 15 minutes is almost like working a whole 8-hour day. It takes that much out of you," Kuhlmann said.
"They're extremely tough mentally and physically so all respect goes to these guys with huge hearts," Gram said.
"It means a lot and I single-handedly went up to them and shook their hands," Hood said.
Even on this dark day, the Hood family is still counting their blessings.
"I'm thankful for the fire station, I'm thankful for my neighbors, I'm thankful for everyone that's helping out today," Hood said gratefully.
Several firefighters were treated at the scene for heat exhaustion. One actually had to be sent to the hospital after he was struck in the head by debris while fighting the fire inside the home. He's already been released and is back to work.
There is no word yet on a cause of the fire.