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Campbell County family warns others to create fire escape plans, after fire sparks in attic

Fire investigators ruled it electrical fire

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. – In the morning on New Year's Eve, Jessica Herndon drove into her garage and got a smoking surprise.

"Where are the flames? I mean, really, I'm, like, 'Where's the smoke coming from?'" she asked herself when she opened her garage door.

Jessica Herndon quickly called firefighters and her husband. Investigators say the fire was electrical and started in the attic floor. They said it was connected to the ceiling fan in a bedroom.

"The wire was more than likely stapled up and running through the two-by-sixes, and it got hot enough to start. That one was burnt in half," Michael Herndon, Jessica's husband, said.

10 News Reporter Magdala Louissaint went up the attic with couple. 

"I think the attic insulation door held a lot of the oxygen up here. So it never really flamed up super big," Michael Herndon said.

The Herndons said having all the doors closed in their home helped keep the fire in one place. But they also learned some new lessons, such as the need for practicing an escape plan and having ladders in all the children's rooms.

"And that was huge for me because our children wouldn't have known what to do. We have an escape ladder in our room but I wouldn't even know what to do with it. I would've been, like, 'Just throw this out the window,' Jessica  Herndon said.

The family has lost a lot of its belongings, but is lucky the situation wasn't worse. And through the Herndons were a little prepared, they also said there's always more they and other families can learn.

"We have learned a lot, that we can do more. And you think it's never going to happen to you, but it happened to us. Having those emergency ladders, practicing with your family and knowing where to go," Michael Herndon said.

The Herndons said they have insurance but, because of the holiday, they will not be able to meet with the adjusters until Wednesday.


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