SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - A Longwood couple is homeless after fire ripped through their home early Thursday morning.
Flames quickly spread through the Wingfield Drive home just before 3 a.m.
Investigators believe the fire started from embers in the fireplace.
Winston Mollena told Channel 9's Deneige Broom that he had started a fire in his fireplace last night.
Mollena said that around 2:30 Thursday morning, he noticed smoke in another part of the house and could feel that one of his home's walls was hot.
By the time he escaped the home and firefighters were on the scene, the fire had gotten into the attic and spread the length of his home.
"All of the ceiling is collapsed, and that's pretty much a total loss," said Bobby Kreinbring, of the Seminole County Fire Department.
This morning arson investigators combed what was left to check for anything that could seem suspicious, but at this point they think it was an accident.
Mollena said he isn't sure what he and his wife will do now that the home they've lived in for 25 years is gone. They scrounged to save things that weren't destroyed, but he doesn't know if any of their clothing survived the blaze.
With nighttime temperatures expected to stay low, firefighters warn people to be careful with their fireplaces.
"After years of burning in the fireplace, it builds creosote on the inside of the fireplace," said Kreinbring. "It's almost like tar on the inside, so when you ignite a fire in there, some of the embers can go up and ignite that, and (it) goes up into the fire box and ignites the attic."
Officials said the fire marshal's investigation should be complete within the next couple of weeks.