DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A Daytona Beach family of seven is reeling after a fire tore through their house, forcing them out of their home.
“We could’ve died," said Torey Stewart, who survived the fire.
Stewart and his girlfriend, Melody, came back from dropping her daughters off at school Monday morning, and discovered their house was on fire.
“By the time I walked back there," Stewart explained. "I just seen a blaze."
"Back there" was one of the bedrooms, where Stewart said he heard a "pop." It was probably a power line sparking amid the flames near the rear bedroom, he said. The family's three girls were at school, but their two boys, ages 8 and 2, were in the house.
“So, I just quickly grabbed Melody and the kids, and we ran outside," Stewart explained.
They had no time to save their belongings.
“By the time I tried to go back up there, it was too late. It was smoke, black smoke everywhere," He explained. "There was nothing I could do.”
Within five minutes, their home was engulfed, he explained.
“The windows just exploded!” he exclaimed.
All the family could do was watch.
"I tried to get the water hose, but to no avail," Stewart said.
When the Daytona Beach Fire Department arrived, they quickly put out the flames, but by then, they had lost everything. They do not have renter's insurance, but Melody Latson, who also survived the fire, said at least they have each other.
“This is all that matters," she said. "That my kids are ok and we still are alive.”
Stewart added, “I’m just lucky to be alive, me and my family.”
The American Red Cross is helping the family. Sasha Staton, Community Relations and Emergency Preparedness Specialist for the Daytona Beach Fire Department said a cause of the fire was determined Monday.
"A flat iron that is used for styling hair was left on in the bedroom by one of the children who had done their hair before school."
Staton said the styling tools use very high heat.
"These styling tools emit very high heat and the Daytona Beach Fire Department urges anyone who uses these tools to ensure they are completely shut off after use and unplugged from a power source. It is also recommended to place these tools on a non-flammable surface."