A neighborhood just off a busy Lexington street was shut down for hours on Sunday, as firefighters tackled a duplex fire near Chinoe and New Circle Road.
"I peaked out the window and it was an enormous plume of flames coming out of the garage. I mean, it was above the house, the flames were so high," said neighbor Sally Warfield.
"By the time that the smoke detectors sounded, there was already fairly heavy smoke on the top floor, and quite high heat conditions on the middle floor," explained Battalion Chief Jason Wells, with the Lexington Fire Department.
Firefighters tell us five people were inside the duplex when a fire broke out around 9:30 a.m.
"You really couldn't even see through the smoke. I can't imagine what it would have been like to be in there," said Warfield, but one person's injuries give a pretty scary idea.
Firefighters say someone sleeping on the middle floor of the unit escaped with 1st and 2nd degree burns, from grabbing a door-knob. "It got that hot, that quick," said Wells.
Those injuries serve as a terrifying indicator of how little time residents had to get out, as they rushed from the heat, into the cold.
"These are bitter cold conditions right now and we don't expect it to get a whole lot warmer," said Wells.
That's why Warfield, and other neighbors knew they had to act just as quickly as firefighters, bringing over the essentials and small tokens of comfort like hot coffee.
"I brought a couple of hoodies. I believe people brought socks, and shoes, because you could tell that the people in the home had maybe had a half-second before they realized what was going on and had to run out the house," said Warfield.
Firefighters say residents won't rush back in as quickly as they came out, since the extensive damage left the right side of the duplex uninhabitable. The left half of the building, however, only had minor smoke damage.
While fire officials are still working to determine the cause of the fire, they do know it started in the home's garage.
Residents have asked WKYT for privacy during this time. We will update this page with any future donation or fundraising efforts should those displaced occupants wish.