by: Joanna Small Updated:RENTON, Wash. —
A Renton man says he is lucky to be alive tonight after a two-alarm fire ripped through the house where he lives in the middle of the night. It happened on South East 190th Place.
Frankie Thong captured 20 minutes worth of massive flames on his cellphone just moments after escaping them.
“I heard the owner come up and scream, knock on his nephew's door and say ‘Alex house on fire,'” he tells us. That woke up Thong, who then left his own room to find fire in the living room.
Thong tells us he ran through the smoke and flame-filled house and remarkably wasn't truly afraid until he was outside because he thought someone else was still inside. You can hear Thong talking to neighbors on the video he shot, referencing a locked door. Thong says no one could get inside one of the bedrooms to ensure the homeowner's nephew Alex was gone.
It wasn't until hours later they learned he hadn't been home when the fire broke out. So everyone is safe and Thong is incredibly grateful... but also incredibly sad.
"I was having breakfast this morning thinking I was wish I was back in the room and the house was OK,” Thong says, only at the house when we ran into him this morning because he was surveying the damage and hoping to go inside and collect what is left of his belongings.
The Renton Fire Department put caution tape around the front of the structure but they tell us Saturday afternoon that Thong and the homeowner are both free to re-enter it although they wouldn't recommend it. The firefighters tell us said the structure is very unstable.
The fire department says they will likely determine a cause by Tuesday. Thong says he thinks the culprit was a candle left unattended.