Fire badly damages home in Forest

Homeowner says fire started in chimney

FOREST, Va. – Jonathan McKinney is picking up the pieces after a fire badly damaged his home in Forest. He said the fire started in the chimney and he knows because he was inside at the time. McKinney said his dog kept pacing near the fireplace, a clue that something was wrong.

"I had no idea. Inside, it was as normal as can be," said McKinney.

McKinney got out safely. His wife and child weren't home. Firefighters had to break down the ceiling to stop the fire from spreading from the attic and top floor. Now the McKinney family starts the long process of figuring out what's next for a home filled with smoke and water damage. 

"We love this neighborhood. We just moved here and we've been doing all sorts of little add-ons and fix-ups for the last year. It's sad to see all that stuff go," said McKinney.

The Forest Fire Department as well as the Bedford County and Campbell County fire departments were all on scene. Forest's fire chief said this winter has been particularly bad for house fires, a sign to stay prepared at all times. 

"The only thing is with this cold weather, it seems our fire load has picked up a little bit, and if people could just check those smoke detectors out and if they're using an alternative heat source have a fire extinguisher close by," said Monty Coleman, district fire chief for Forest Fire Department.

The official cause of the fire is still under investigation.