7 Family Members Narrowly Escape Fire That Destroyed Their Woodbridge Home

An improperly discarded cigarette caused the fire, officials say

A family in Woodbridge, Virginia, is alive because of their quick reaction to a fire that completely destroyed their home.

Flames erupted at the home in the 11200 block of Ramrod Road about 2:30 a.m. Friday. Prince William County firefighters responded to the fire a short time later.

The fire was so intense it cast an orange glow into neighbors' windows.

"I couldn't believe it. It was - I've seen fires before, but when I looked out there, it looked like something that - it was surreal," neighbor Bill Dennis said.

Chip Lohman, who lives across the street, said it wasn't the fire that woke him up, but two little girls who had just escaped the flames.

"The young girls knocking on our door at 2 a.m. screaming, just hysterical," Lohman said.

The two girls, ages 7 and 9, escaped the fire along with their parents, two grandparents and another child.

Lohman said the parents and three children had to climb out of the house through a second-story window. The visiting grandparents were sleeping in the lower level of the home and were able to get out through a door.

Two adults and all three children were taken to a hospital, but did not suffer serious injuries.

The family's Labrador is still missing.

Fire officials say the fire started on the porch and an improperly discarded cigarette is to blame.

The house is a complete loss and was nearly leveled by the fire. All that remains is the chimney and the front doors.

Lohman said he is taking steps to beef up his own family's fire safety gear after seeing the devastating fire.

"When you called me, I'd just finished placing an order for three rope fire escape ladders for each of our kids and our house," Lohman told News4.

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