Something woke up the man early Sunday morning, an explosion that he heard or felt. He got up to investigate, opened his master bedroom door and was enveloped by smoke. The single-family house at 350 Tidwell Circle was filled with it.
Had the homeowner not been awakened, it’s likely he wouldn’t have survived the fire that turned the home and three vehicles into a total loss, according to Forsyth County Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers.
Fire personnel responded to the scene around 9 a.m. and found that the man had already evacuated, Shivers said. He told investigators that he escaped through the window of another upstairs bedroom and onto a lower section of roof where he jumped to safety. No one else was in the home, Shivers said.
The structure was already heavily damaged by the time firefighters arrived, Shivers said, particularly in the garage area; part of it had already collapsed.
Firefighters and investigators were on scene until 3 p.m., during which they learned how fortunate the man had been. The home had no smoke alarms. If his bedroom door had not been closed, it’s likely he would have died in his sleep from asphyxiation. The sense of smell “turns off” during sleep, Shivers said.
“The gentleman is very fortunate that he heard or felt something that awoke him,” Shivers said.
The Red Cross is providing the homeowner with housing, clothing and other essentials, Shivers said.
The incident is still under investigation.