Officials: 9 displaced in early morning fire at Portsmouth home

Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — An early morning fire displaced nine residents from a three-unit house in Portsmouth.

Firefighters were dispatched to the 300 block of Carver Circle around 4 a.m.

Thankfully everyone walked away with their lives, but one man says if it wasn’t for the quick thinking of his son — it’d be a different story.

“Well I was laying there sleep and all of a sudden my son, I heard him holler ‘get up get up, the house is on fire,'” said Robert Gaskins. “And I’m like what in the world are you talking about?”

Fire officials say a fire started in one unit, before spreading though all three in the building.

“I use a sleep apnea machine, so I come out from under that and went past his room and this blaze is coming out,” Gaskins said.

He says if his son had not warned him to get out he would have lost his life.

“When I crawl up under the sleep machine, I’m gone. So if I would’ve still been lying there asleep with the machine on my face, the mask on my face, it’s probably how they would’ve found me too,” Gaskins said.

He did make it out, and his daughter says that is not the only miracle.

They were able to save some memorabilia.

“We got a few pictures. My dad was an ex-Marine, so we still have his gun and his sword from when he was a Marine. So we still have that, that was basically what he asked us for,” she said.

They say the home is a total loss, and so are most of their things, but their faith and strength in each other is what’s holding them together.

“It’s only God and his angels protected both of them, or everybody,” she said

The Red Cross was called to assist seven of the nine residents. 

Robert did suffer some minor injuries to his head when he crawled out of the home, but no one else was injured. Officials are still investigating what started the fire.

Stay tuned to WAVY.com for updates.

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