UPDATE: Victim describes devestating fire

BRISTOL, Va. - We have more information about the Bristol, Va. fire that cost three people their home.

The fire broke out inside an Oak St. residence around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday.

We spoke to the victims, who said they lost everything.

"We're still in shock," said Lorraine Tolley. "I was just totally scared to death."

Tolley lived on the first floor of the house, in one of two apartments.     

She's lived there for about a year and a half. The other resident, in the apartment next to Tolley's, has been there for five years.

Tolley told us she woke up to a popping sound and found herself surrounded by smoke.

"Just smoke rolling outside when I opened the door just smoke rolling behind me and beside of me," she described.

She ran outside, Tolley said, and saw the other tenant calling 911.

Tolley told us the landlord was in the backyard watching the flames consume his apartment on the second floor.

"You see smoke rolling and fire coming from the top of the building," she said.

Next door neighbor, Marcia Tiller, saw the flames and panicked thinking they were coming from her own home, she told us.

She said she rushed everyone out of the house.

" I said get Katie so he got Katie and I came down and got my son and we got out and when I got to the porch I thought the garage behind the house was on fire," said Tiller.

Tiller's daughter is eight years old and her son is 17.

She told me no one was hurt in the fire.

Hours later firefighters continued to pour water into the house.

Tiller said it will be hard for her neighbors to rebuild.

"They lost everything they have," Tiller told us. 

"It's scary and now we don't know where to go, we don't know what to do, when were going to eat, what were going to eat," said Lorraine Tolley.

We're told the landlord has insurance on the property, but neither Tolley nor the other tenant had renters insurance.

The American Red Cross gave them money for food and clothing, plus three nights in a hotel.

Tolley told us after that, she doesn't know what she's going to do but she's glad everyone made it out alive.

You can contact the Red Cross for more information about how to help the victims.

Their phone number is (276) 645-6650, extension 109.

The Bristol Virginia Fire Department tells us they are still investigating the cause of the fire.


The effects of the fire could be felt on Commonwealth Avenue.

A water main break cause water to flow across the street.

It eventually closed a lane of traffic outside of George & Sid's for about six hours, starting at 11 a.m.

Bristol Virginia Utilities tells us there was so much water flowing through the pipe to the scene of the fire that when the hydrant was shut off, the pressure caused the pipe to split down the side.

BVU replaced about seven to eight feet of piping.

Both lanes of traffic are back open.

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