Imagine seeing a fire in your home. You thought you put the fire out, but you wake up to more flames.
That's what happened to one local man, and now he's warning other home owners.
Brandon McElwee wants folks to know the dangers of blown-in insulation. The fire in his house was caused by an electrical wiring malfunction. McElwee saw it and thought he put the fire out, but it had already gotten to the insulation and there was no way he could have known until he woke up around 3 a.m. to the smell of smoke.
"I heard some crackling in the attic. I opened up the attic door and there is a little flame. So, I put it out. Or I thought I put it out," said McElwee.
He said he's lived on West 14th street in Front Royal for three years. He spent an hour dousing everything around the fire, to make sure it was out. "So I went to sleep and two hours later, it was a really big flame." All of the insulation around him was on fire. "All around me it just suddenly, in a matter of seconds, all of it turned brown. That's when I knew it was nothing I could deal with," said McElwee.
That's when he called 911 and ran out of the house.
Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico said when the insulation ignited, it spread to the structure of the roof and then started to burn down through the walls. "That insulation, in reality, just sits their and smolders until it receives the oxygen that it needs. Once it gets that oxygen that it needs, it will take that smoldering fire and turn it into a full fledged fire," said Maiatico.
He said blown-in insulation does a great job for what it's used for, but it causes problems if there is a fire.
Neighbors said there was a fire just a few months ago at the house next to McElwees. "Just knowing that they're both connected to us, it's pretty scary because if one of them blew up, ours would have gone too," said Gerren Butler.
As for McElwee, he's just happy to be alive. "It's insured, who cares? I was sleeping when it actually happened, so it could have been a lot worse. They saved the whole house, I'm sure the house could have burnt down. I can't complain, I'm still around," he said.