3 displaced in massive house fire in Durham

DURHAM (WTVD) -- An early morning fire on Patterson Road, just off of Highway 98 in Durham, has left three people and their pets without a home. Still, thanks to the efforts of the Durham Fire Department, Redwood Volunteer Fire Department, and Durham County Fire and Rescue, all made it out alive.

Kathy Levinger said she and her husband Bruce were first alerted to the blaze quickly spreading through their Durham rental home by their roommate, who lived upstairs.

"I heard our friend upstairs calling out, 'Bruce, help me, help me,' and I didn't know what kind of help he needed," Kathy began.

When they went to investigate, the couple was confronted with flames.

"I got to the base of the stairs, and I looked up, and all I saw was orange," she recalled, getting choked up at the shocking memory.

Kathy said her husband tried, unsuccessfully, to extinguish the flames, burning his hand in the process. He was taken to the hospital to get that treated, but otherwise is expected to be OK.

The couple and their roommate all fled the house, only to realize their beloved pets were still inside. But firefighters who responded went back and in and managed to save them all but one fish. That included two dogs, two cats, two lizards and a mourning dove -- the fact that they were all saved came as an immense relief to the home's occupants.

"Oh yes, I am, I'm extremely grateful," Kathy exclaimed, although she also admitted she couldn't help but be saddened by what they did lose.

"We just lost all our clothes, my antiques, my photos," she cried, with tears in her eyes as she stared at her blackened home.

The Red Cross is assisting and putting them up in a hotel for now. Meanwhile, the Durham County Fire Marshal's Office is still investigating the cause. However, Kathy said she believes the fire was caused by a candle left burning by her roommate upstairs.

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