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Fire survivor: 'I grew up in the house and it's everything we own'

2 adults, 3 young children able to escape blaze, Jacksonville firefighters say

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three children were hospitalized Thursday afternoon after a house fire in the Woodstock area of the city's Westside, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said.

The blaze was reported just after 12:30 p.m. on West First Street near Detroit Street.

Rindi Beverly, her roommate and three young children were inside when the fire broke out.

"The fire just like blew us back and when it blew us back, the baby got singed, all of her hair, and she’s got third-degree burns on her forehead and her arm," Beverly said.

VIDEO: 3 children taken to hospital after Woodstock house fire, JFRD says

According to JFRD, everyone in the home managed to escape the fire, which started in the living room. They were already outside by the time firefighters arrived. 

"They occupants had self-evacuated, but it was a family with two adults and three children under the age of 6," said JFRD District Chief Robin Gainey.

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Beverly said there was a space heater in the living room, where the fire started.

"It just happened so fast. I mean, I grew up in the house and it’s everything we own," Beverly said. "Thank God that everybody’s OK, but, I mean, it’s just, like, it’s a bad situation."

JFRD originally said all five were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, but later said the two adults were not hospitalized. 

"The two adults were fine," Gainey said. "We did not transport them." 

News4Jax was told the three children were exposed to smoke, which is why they were taken to the hospital to get checked out. They are expected to be OK.

Beverly said the two 3-year-olds and 1-year-old have been recovering at Baptist Hospital. 

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Firefighters said their quick response and aggressive attack got the flames under control quickly.

"The house I grew up in it so, you know, it’s things, memories that can’t be replaced," Beverly said.

Sky 4 aerial video showed the state fire marshal's office was at the scene. The American Red Cross also responded to help the family. 

On Friday, the state fire marshal's office sent News4Jax a statement, saying the investigation currently remains open.

"Investigators believe this fire to be accidental in nature and have not uncovered any indications of suspicious activity surrounding this incident," the statement reads, in part.

According to JFRD, an estimated $50,000 worth of damage was done to the house. The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help rebuild. 

The family will be staying at the Ronald McDonald House Friday night.


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