GALENA PARK, TX (KTRK) -- Arson investigators are working to determine the cause of an early morning fire that destroyed one home and severely damaged two others on the 12000 block of Ledger Lane.
The fire broke out around 5am while residents were still sleeping.
"The fire alarm was going off, and we looked at each other and we're like, why is that going off," resident Wesley Wooley recalled.
By the time Wooley and his wife realized what was happening, the fire had already spread into the couples' living room.
"Fire was dripping out of the ceiling and onto the couch," said Wooley's wife Amy Keal.
"It was really going. I didn't think about trying to put it out. I just ran down the hall and got my kids out of bed and everybody outside," Wooley said.
Wooley, Keal, and their two sons escaped unharmed. But the fast moving flames quickly spread to neighboring homes.
A Galena Park Fire Marshall described how radiant heat from the fire engulfing Wooley's home caused neighboring structures to ignite.
"My wife woke up and screamed, 'The house next door is on fire! It's coming over here!'" said neighbor Jason Swart.
Responding firefighters were able to extinguish the flames and save neighbors' homes. Wooley's home, however, was a total loss.
By daybreak all that remained of the three bedroom house was brick, mortar, and a pile of charred wood.
"I lost my daddy's flag. I can replace everything else, but I can't replace that," Wooley said, as he choked back tears.
Wooley and the fire marshal credit working smoke alarms with saving the family's life.
The Houston Red Cross is assisting three families displaced by the fire.
Family escapes raging house fire in Galena Park