Va. family displaced from what rescue crews call a 'strange accident'

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BLUE RIDGE (WSLS 10) - A Blue Ridge family told WSLS 10 they're lucky to escape what rescue crews are calling a 'strange accident' - an unlikely series of events led to a fire and left the family displaced.

The Leonards said the brightness of the lights inside their home intensified, then there was a loud pop, and darkness.

Botetourt County Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Jason Ferguson said heavy winds caused a rare turn of events - a power line became loose and caused an electrical surge resulting in multiple fires.

"It probably didn't take two, three, four minutes until the whole house was filled with smoke, just black smoke," said Wayne Leonard.

"You could not see anything," said Carol Leonard. "My husband was at the top of the steps with a flashlight, but I could not see the flashlight."

There's not much that remains left. If it wasn't damaged in the fire, smoke destroyed the rest. What Ferguson is calling a "strange" accident has displaced the Leonards after 35 years of memories along Leonard Farm Road.

The deputy chief said in his 15 years with the department he has never seen a fire like this before.

"I've seen wind driven fires, but as far as where the power dropped like that from the wind, that was a first for me," Ferguson said.

Ferguson commented there's nearly $100,000 worth of damage. The Leonards escaped with the clothes on their backs, but are fortunate for their health. Now, they're turning to family to rebuild.

"We're going to stay in the Blue Ridge area," said Carol. "We're going to let God take care of us. He's all we got to lean on. And of course, our friends and family have been great. The house has just been in and out all day long with people."

If you would like to help donate, the Colonial Baptist Church is raising money for the Leonards. For more information you can call the church secretary at (540) 977-5683.