GREENSBORO, N.C. - It was a nightmare scenario for a Triad family that pulled up to their home, engulfed in flames.
On this first day of 2018, Tonya Miles was out with her family running errands, and got a horrific call from her sister. Her house was on fire and burning down fast.
The family was over in High Point, enjoying lunch after running errands on New Year's Day. However, their new year quickly took a turn for the worse when Miles' sister called to tell her a fire was ravaging their two-story Greensboro home.
“I think it might be the fireplace, but I don't know because that was the only thing that was going. Two fireplaces. And they said that it was so hot, when they got in the front door it was already gone in like three or four minutes,” Miles said.
Investigators say they still don't know the cause, no one was home at the time, except two family dogs. One escape, but the family believes the other, a golden retriever, died in the fire.
“We've lived here for 17 years. And the house was built in 1935 so, it doesn't take much for this to happen,” said Miles.
Miles, her husband, and daughter are understandably struggling to cope with what is likely a total loss.
“This is what we have. And this isn't even our stuff,” she said, “We have the clothes we have on and that's it.”
The Red Cross is helping the family until they can get back on their feet.
Meantime, the Greensboro Fire Department says the colder weather leads to increased fire calls.
“We always see more fires in the winter time,” said Assistant Fire Chief Dwayne Church, “Basically because of space heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves - things like that.
There's no way to completely avoid a fire in your home but fire officials say you can decrease the chance. First, make sure all smoke detectors are working. Second, keep your heaters at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire. And when it comes to heaters or fireplaces, make sure to turn them off when you're asleep or out of the house.