• Sleeping family escapes after 'suspicious' fire engulfs Gastonia home

    By: Ken Lemon

    Updated:

    GASTONIA, N.C. - A family of three woke up to flames early Tuesday morning after a large fire broke out at their home in Gastonia.

    Channel 9's Gaston County bureau reporter Ken Lemon spoke to Fonzo Armstrong, who said his girlfriend woke him up around 3 a.m. after she awoke to the smell of smoke.

    "She said, 'Fonzo! Fonzo! get up," Armstrong said.

    He said they immediately grabbed his son and the three of them escaped as flames engulfed the home on Nat Barber Avenue near North Chester Street.

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    Armstrong believes his girlfriend's quick actions saved their lives.

    According to Armstrong, flames were already crawling along the ceiling when she woke up his son who was sleeping in the back of the house where the fire started.

    "And my son he came through there running and it seems like as he run, the blaze was coming this way," Armstrong said.

    Officials said the fire appears suspicious and was set from outside of the home.

    "We all three would have been dead in there. Why would anyone want to burn a house down? For what reason, what they going to gain from putting me out?" said Armstrong.

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    Investigators are looking through surveillance video from a church near the home, hoping that will help them figure out what happened.

    Armstrong told Lemon that the fire left him and his family homeless. They are now relying on loved ones for a place to sleep.

    Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

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