A Danville woman is in critical condition after escaping and then attempting to re-enter her burning home early this morning.
Interim Fire Chief Woody Ball said fire crews and police responded to 831 Crosshill Road at 1:40 a.m. Initial reports were that some children were trapped inside the residence.
When firefighters arrived, three boys ages 13, 11 and 9 were outside the house, but the children’s grandmother was found in a rear doorway.
Ball said the names of the woman and the children were not being released at press time because some of the family members had not been notified.
According to Ball, the woman got out the back door of the house with the youngest child, but when authorities found her, she had apparently attempted to go back inside. After police officers carried her away from the house, she collapsed from respiratory arrest, Ball said.
Deputy Chief Tim Brumfield said the two older children escaped through the front window of the house after breaking the glass with a rock. Ball said the boys, who were asleep in a front room, told firefighters they were awakened by the smell of smoke.
The woman was taken to Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center for treatment of severe smoke inhalation and was in critical condition at press time. Ball said the children were checked for smoke inhalation but appeared to be OK.
Ball said the fire started around an artificial Christmas tree in the corner of a living room in the front of the house. The rest of the house sustained smoke and heat damage, but firefighters contained the flames to the living room.
City Fire Marshal Ken Pflug was expected at the scene this morning to try to determine the exact cause of the fire, but Ball said it is likely that wiring or lights on or near the tree were partly to blame.
There were seven dogs and two cats living in the house. Ball said firefighters got the cats and six of the dogs out, but one of the dogs did not survive.
Ball said it is not known what the woman was trying to retrieve when she went back inside the home, but noted that even a few breaths of toxic smoke can greatly affect a person’s judgment.