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Neighbor heard windows shattering as fire tore through Fan duplex

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Posted at 11:59 AM, Nov 30, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-30 22:15:27-05

RICHMOND, Va.-- Investigators are working to determine what sparked a kitchen fire a home in Richmond's iconic Fan District Sunday morning.

Crews were called to the 2200 block of Floyd Avenue around 11:30 a.m.

Heavy smoke billowed as firefighters worked to get control of a blaze that almost destroyed the duplex.

Moments earlier, neighbor Sue Wood said the piercing sound of an alarm alerted her family.

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"Then I looked out the window and i could see a little bit of smoke and then all of a sudden, a lot of smoke and she got on the phone and called the fire department,” Wood said. “By that time the flames were coming out and you could hear windows breaking and things falling off shelves and all that."

Wood said she ran to the home and other neighbors to make sure everyone got out safely.

Firefighters think that the fire broke out in the kitchen of the first floor unit and quickly spread.

A distraught resident had left to go to the hardware store a few minutes before the fire broke out.

Her car was inside the home. Firefighters were unable to save the animal, which Wood said had come with her from California.

A firefighter also suffered a minor burn to the arm battling the blaze.

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While firefighters were able to contain the flames before they spread to nearby homes, Wood said she feels awful that her neighbor lost things that were important to her.

"When you've kept house for a long time you have stuff you've been collecting all your life.  Photographs and things that don't mean anything to anybody else," Wood said.