VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - "Lord, Jesus. I lost everything," said Levern Peige as she stood next to what was left of her home at 308 Virginia Ave. late Friday morning.
As Peige spoke to a Red Cross representative, she considered herself lucky to be alive after her home caught fire around 4:15 a.m. while she and a few others were sitting outside just a few feet away when the fire started.
"We heard poppin', poppin', poppin', poppin'; and the poppin' got louder. Then, we heard a big boom," Peige recalled. She said her cousin pulled her away from the fire. "He didn't want me to stay on the front. He said, 'honey bunch, run, run, run!'"
The fire was so big, it even partially melted an SUV sitting in front of the home. Friday morning, Peige was asking for any help she could get. The fire left her without a car, without a place to live, and all of her belongings were lost in the fire as well. "All my brand new stuff; never been used. I lost it. And then, I lost my dogs," Peige said.
Two of her dogs were found dead in the debris when firefighters searched the home. The third dog was still missing late Friday morning.
Peige said she believes an old extension cord that had recently been plugged in on the front porch sparked the blaze, but Monday afternoon Valdosta's Fire Marshal, Cpt. James Clinkscales, said the fire was still under investigation. "Initial source of the fire was extension cord. But, we do know there was some accelerants on the porch that increased the size of the fire," Cpt. Clinkscales explained.
If you would like to help Peige, contact (229) 292-6730 or (229) 232-7510. The Red Cross is also assisting.