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‘She jumped from the window,’ Woman describes how daughter escaped house fire


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    ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — An Asheville homeowner is recounting the moments her home went up in flames while her daughter was inside.

On Friday, Viola Spells spoke to WLOS by phone, describing the chaotic scene from the day before.

“I came home yesterday morning to my house in flames,” she said.

Feelings of dread, despair and distress started taking over as Spells drove toward her home early Thursday morning.

“I saw these firetrucks and I was, like, what’s going on down there? And I kept getting this sinking feeling because it was, like, close to my house,” Spells said, describing the smoke and bright orange flames she saw in the distance.

She also noticed the flood of first responders in the distance as the reality of it all sank in.

“There were flames still going, especially in the back,” Spells said. “They were still trying to put it out.”

Spells said she was on her way home from running errands when the fire broke out at her home on Dix Creek Chapel Road.

A mother’s worst nightmare ran through her head as she realized her daughter might still be inside. But that terror was quickly extinguished when a firefighter said her daughter managed to escape uninjured.

Spells’ daughter was taken to the hospital for evaluation, which is where she told her mother how she escaped.

“She told me she jumped from the window. That was the only way she could get out,” Spells said.

The fire spread so swiftly that crews had to call for backup. Firefighters also faced the challenge of having no nearby water source at the scene.

“We had to rely heavily on our mutual aid partners and, in fact, had to call in two additional alarms, which brought in four additional engines and two additional tankers, just to be able to bring this fire under control,” West Buncombe Fire Chief Dennis Fagnant said.

Melted siding and debris were all that was left in the aftermath.

“When you see that’s wiped away all your memories, everything you own, everything gone, I was just devastated,” Spells said.

So far, investigators haven’t said what caused the fire.

A GoFundMe page has now been set up to help the family rebuild.

Meantime, Spells said she’s choosing to stay hopeful in what lies ahead.

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