Only one person - a mother and fulltime student at NC Central University - was home when it happened. She got out safely, but the flames destroyed everything else - including some family pets
Latanya Tinsley told ABC11 she's living proof that smoke detectors save lives. The one in her townhome sounded as she slept upstairs in her daughter's room.
"And I ran to the steps to see why it was going off. And by the time I got to the steps, the whole stairway was covered in smoke," she said.
She poured water on the fire and thought it was out, but it ignited some nearby clothes.
"We have absolutely nothing left but this shirt, the jeans, the shoes that I have on and my dog. That's it. And, some food in the freezer, I'm giving away to neighbors," she said.
Six years spent in the home meant lots of memories. The pictures and other memorabilia are now burned.
She was glad her 16-year-old daughter was away.
"She's spending Father's Day with her father. I'm not sure if I should call her and spoil that moment, which I really don't want to," she said.
Friends and neighbors offered food, clothes and other necessities.
"I'm very, very grateful, very grateful. 'Cause I would have never thought that people would step up like this," said Tinsley.
And since her mother lives nearby, she's got a place to stay while she works on life adjustments, after the fire.