SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — A huge overnight house fire forced the evacuation of 11 people and left a family of five with no place to call home.
It all began shortly before 2:45 a.m. Thursday with reports of flames coming from a house in the 2400 block of C.E. Galloway Street in Shreveport’s Stoner Hill neighborhood.
The family of five, along with their friend and 5 neighbors on either side of the house fire, were all evacuated.
Among them was next-door neighbor James Williams.
"My grandson came to our room and told us that the house was on fire. My wife thought he was talking about our house."
So Williams said he and his wife, Alice, jumped out of bed and he rushed outside to see huge flames coming from a truck in the carport before spreading to whole house.
"We just came out of the house and ran across the street there."
With daylight, Williams returned to survey the heat damage to the side of his house.
"I'm grateful. I'm happy that it's not as bad as it could have been. It's not as bad at that."
James' wife, Alice, said she too is grateful.
"I'm so glad that everybody got out of that house safe. And I'm glad that my house didn't burn any worse than it did."
That’s especially the case when you consider that it was 21 years ago when the Williams home nearly was destroyed by fire.
AEP-SWEPCO did have to shut off the power overnight because of downed lines arcing on the ground.
That allowed the two dozen firefighters to better attack the flames, but also meant something else for neighbors.
"They've cut the electric wire. We don't have any electricity or gas. We're working now to try to get somebody over here to fix that."
The Williamses are grateful fire crews brought their granddaughters’ dog across the street to them as they waited for the all-clear.
By early evening, the family left homeless from the fire returned to the scene.
Shatoya Alford said she fears their three dogs died in the fire. She also recalled hearing a loud boom and then their smoke alarm going off.
Alford said they had just moved in Wednesday and had not even gotten settled in.
She described rushing out of the house with her two children, along with her fiance and his child and a family friend.
As they made it outside, Alford said, she spotted fire coming from the truck under the carport just as next-door neighbor Jim Williams had described.
Now Alford and her family are staying with relatives and will meet with the Red Cross on Friday.
A Fire Department spokesman said investigators have not yet determined the exact source or cause of the blaze.