Family of 8 displaced by townhome fire

Firefighters: Boy playing with lighter started blaze

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A family of eight was displaced from their two-story townhome after fire ripped through it Friday morning.

Firefighters were called to the blaze in the 3200 block of Justina Terrace in Arlington about 10:30 a.m.

They said the townhome was fully involved when they arrived, with flames shooting out a window. The home was destroyed.

Everyone in the home got out safely, including three adults and several children.

Firefighters said Derek Jackson tried to douse the flames himself but could not.

Jackson told firefighters his 4-year-old son was playing with a lighter upstairs and started the fire.

Two parents and their six children -- ages 10, 8, 4 and 1, including two sets of twins -- are now homeless.

"Gone, everything's gone," Jackson said.

"Money got burned up. It was upstairs, all our bank cards," Ciarra Jackson added.

Dominique Jackson was also there when the fire broke out.

"I grabbed my cousin, and that's when the fire went to bursting out," she said. "And we ran down the stairs and everybody ran out the door. We got out just in time."

"We heard the fire alarm go off," Ciarra said. "We didn't see any smoke, checked the one down here, and nothing. We checked upstairs and there was smoke and fire. He was so nervous that he set the bed on fire, he didn't even run down to let us know."

The Red Cross was assisting the family with immediate needs such as food, clothing and emergency lodging.

"It's just a blessing that we made it," Dominique said.

Anyone wanting to help the family can contact Channel 4's Vic Micolucci at vic@wjxt.com.