Portsmouth home destroyed by fire, elderly woman inside escapes

Posted at 11:33 PM, Sep 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-24 00:13:11-04

Portsmouth, Va. - A home completely engulfed in flames is what neighbors saw Monday afternoon in Portsmouth.

"When I looked out the window, that's when I saw the flames,” says Nevis Franklin, who lives directly behind the home. “They were up above the trees."

"Humongous,” says Armon Santiful, Nevis’ son. “Like to the sky. And then the clouds were black, dark."

However, it wasn't the home they were worried about. They were afraid for their elderly neighbor who they call Miss Sally.

Once a day, Armon checks on 87-year-old Miss Sally, who he says has dementia.

When he saw the fire, Franklin rushed outside, called 911 and yelled for her.

"When I heard her say, 'help me,' I didn't know exactly her condition," he says.

Franklin says he found Miss Sally standing on the lawn, safe. He walked her across the street as fire crews arrived to put out the flames.

Charred beams and gaping holes are what’s left, except for a few salvageable items family members picked through.

As investigators continue to look into what sparked the fire, neighbors are relieved.

"Proud of my family, proud of my neighbors and the fire department,” Santiful says. “I'm just happy she got out safely."

"It could have been worse," Nevis says.