FORT SMITH (KFSM) - A home was badly damaged after it caught fire early Tuesday (July 29) morning in Fort Smith, according to authorities.
Battalion Chief Mark Talley with Fort Smith Fire said crews were dispatched to the house at 1200 North 45th Street just before 3 a.m., after neighbors reported seeing heavy smoke in the area.
9-year-old Cyndee Torries said she woke up to the smell of smoke and immediately called 911.
"I smelled the smoke and so I went and got my mom's phone and called 911," Torries said.
Torries then woke up the rest of her family, and told them their neighbor's house was on fire.
"We were very surprised when she told us that the house was burning," Torries uncle, Vicko Vellmonte said. "We ran outside, and saw flames coming out of the house up by the window."
Torries and her family then ran to the house to make sure no one was inside. Other neighbors, who also woke up to the heavy smoke, called the homeowner to tell her that the house was on fire.
"We were just hoping no one was inside," Torries said. "We noticed the cars were missing, and then we saw [the homeowner] pulling up in her car."
"I'm very blessed that my niece happened to see the smoke, and got us all out to safety," Vellmonte said.
The fire marshal ruled that the fire sparked after a power strip overheated and caught fire, Talley said.
5NEWS did speak with the homeowner, who said she was in shock and couldn't believe what happened. She said she was spending the night with a elderly woman who was not doing well when the fire started.