Family loses home after fire caused by space heater in Athens

A 17-year-old was home alone when he woke up to the smell of smoke coming from a back bedroom.

Posted: Dec 28, 2017 5:20 PM
Updated: Dec 28, 2017 7:05 PM

Three people are without a home after a fire in Athens Thursday morning.

Officials say the fire happened on Johnson Street around 10:00 a.m. Thursday.

Now, the family who once lived there is having to find a new place to live just a few days after Christmas.

“I woke up and it smelled like somebody was at a bonfire," said Alexander Fugatt. "And I just walked to the back bedroom and it was engulfed in flames.”

The 17-year-old says he’s still in shock that his family lost their home Thursday morning.

“I can’t even remember. It’s like you black out when you see something like that and it’s just crazy. It’s something like in a movie," Fugatt said.

But he says he’s thankful he woke up when he did.

Fugatt says he, his dad, and his brother live at the home on Johnson Street, but he was the only one there when the fire started.

He told WAAY 31 he walked into a bedroom and saw flames. He says that’s when he wanted to save everything he could, but he knew he needed to get out and make a phone call.

“The only thing that I could think of was ‘I might want to call my dad,'" Fugatt said.

According to Chief Lance Pitts with the Piney Chapel Fire Department, the home began to collapse as crews arrived on scene.

He says the cause of the fire was a space heater, and the home is now a total loss.

Fugatt said, despite losing his home and everything his family owned, he's optimistic about the future and already making plans for another place to stay.

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to talk to my sister and stay over there a little bit, and, hopefully, things will look a little bit better," he said.

Fire officials want to remind everyone that, if you’re going to use a space heater, make sure you keep it at least three feet away from any other items in the room.

They also say to plug it straight into the wall instead of into a power strip.

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