Gastonia family nearly dies in arson fire, police investigating

A Gastonia family was almost killed in an overnight arson fire that destroyed their home. 

"I could have died," a man who was inside the home said. "My daddy could have died."

A man who did not want to be identified says he woke up to the smell of smoke only to realize his home was engulfed in flames. 

"My daddy's girlfriend woke me up," he said. "The house was full of smoke. Instantly, it's like a smoke mask went across my face. I couldn't breathe."

He escaped uninjured along with his father and his father's girlfriend. Gastonia police say this was arson.

"I was getting weaker going to the door," the man said, describing his escape. "I couldn't get the door open, so I hurried up and kicked the door open."

He says he knows who tried to kill his family He believes it is someone who had previously made threats against his father. 

"This was not an accident," he said. "This was deliberately set."

"This case is under investigation," said Donna Lahser with Gastonia police. "There is no further public information to release at this time."

The man who was inside the home says police "know who did it."

"The whole street knows who did it," he addded. 

The fire took place on Nat Barber Avenue in Gastonia just before 2 a.m. Tuesday. Behind the family's home is Friendship Christian Church, which has several surveillance cameras. Church officials say none of the cameras captured the fire or the person who set it. 

Police estimate the damage to the home at $100,000. 

The family now has nowhere to go. The man who spoke to FOX 46 says he plans to sleep in his car. He says all he can do now is make a plea for police to make an arrest.

"Come on man, do your jobs," he said. "What are we paying our taxes for if you ain't doing your job?"

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Gastonia police.