Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 News
A quick moving house fire destroyed two duplex homes east of Lake Arlington on Saturday afternoon.
A fast-moving house fire destroyed two duplexes near Lake Arlington Saturday afternoon.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but Arlington fire officials said explosions were reported to them when they received the call for help.
When they arrived at the home, both sides of the duplex along the 4600 block of Sausalito Drive was fully engulfed. It took nearly two hours for all the flames to be knocked down. Fire spread to fences in backyards and burned the grass at a third home on the back side.
A third alarm was called for firefighters to respond due to the extreme heat of the day and a scare that a fire crew may have been trapped inside. One firefighter suffered a minor cut to his finger, but no residents were hurt thanks to the help of several good Samaritans.
"It went up quick, it went up real quick," said resident Brad Weaver.
Weaver knew just how lucky he was to be alive a few hours after his duplex caught fire.
"People started banging on my front door, told me to get out, the house was on fire," Weaver said. "I had time to go and get my medicine and then I had to get -- I had to get out."
Helping to get him out were Linda and Kaylee Kendall, a mother and daughter cleaning out a relative's home who had recently passed away. As they were about to leave Kaylee saw the smoke.
Linda Kendall drove closer and saw the back of the homes on fire and the cars starting to catch fire as well. Her daughter called 911, as a friend went to get the residents out.
Brian Pierce, a former firefighter for 20 years, said he kicked in the front doors at two of the duplexes to make sure the residents got out safely.
"One of them was asleep, the other one was trying to get stuff out, he didn't realize how bad it was," Pierce said.
"He was asleep, didn't even know what was going on," Linda Kendall said, saying they got Weaver into the air conditioning of a car to make sure he wouldn't be overcome by the heat.
Pierce said he'd seen similar fires before in his career.
"Oh yeah I've seen it, it moves fast," Pierce said. "You don't have much time to get out, if someone tells you there's a fire get out."
He said he heard an explosion, thinking there might have been ammunition going off as well a small propane tank exploding in the backyard.
Arlington fire said they had reports of an explosion when the fire was called in. Fire crews also had another scary moment where it appeared one of the homes suffered another explosion, which was caught by Chopper 5 flying high above.
"All the wooded materials inside the house the temperature got high enough where all of it flashed over at once, the fuel did," Batt. Chief Brian Cudaback said. "That company, like I said, for a short period of time we thought was still trapped inside, but they exited the building."
Firefighters were being monitored by paramedics to make sure none of them were overcome by the heat while fighting the fire. More than a half dozen Arlington fire vehicles were on scene at the peak of the fire.
And while no one was physically hurt, mentally this is tough on Weaver.
"I fell like I lost everything that I own, I'm sorry," Weaver said, breaking down.
Weaver said this is the second house fire to destroy everything in their home he's experienced in the last ten years. Last Thursday he was supposed to move in with his granddaughter, but that move was delayed to later next week.
"What can you say? I'm grateful to be alive," Weaver said. "Thank God for that."
Pierce and the Kendalls said they were just doing the right thing, helping those who may be in danger.
Arlington arson investigators were on-scene to determine the cause of the fire. No cause has yet been determined and there is no word yet on damages.