WINFIELD, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A house was destroyed Monday by an early morning fire in Winfield, and lightning may be to blame.
It took multiple fire departments hours to put out the flames. The home is off Blue Lick Road at the top of a hill, making it difficult for fire fighters to access.
The family of three woke up to the sound of smoke detectors.
"We have a lot of them so we could hear them going off," Pam Istrate said.
They credit those detectors for saving their lives. Istrate says while it may be a hassle to change batteries, it's worth it. She and her husband, Mihai, hope this is a lesson to other families. They hope their story of survival will encourage other families to make sure their smoke detectors are working, as well.
Pam and Mihai said the smoke was so strong it burnt their lungs.
"Trying to save the pictures because that's what I knew I couldn't get back," Pam said. "I got some in my arm and I go back and my throat was burning, and it was too much."
The couple grabbed their young son and a few belongings and ran outside, just in time.
The family has lived in the 6,000-square-foot home for 10 years and knows the memories can't be replaced, but the most important things made it out safely.
"You can replace everything else. I know it sounds cliché, but it's true when you look back," Pam said. "As I watched it unfold, it's like I was in a dream."
Firefighters haven't determined an exact cause, although they believe it could have been started by lightning. The family is working to calculate an exact dollar amount of damage. The family's three dogs all made it out safely.