The 6 a.m. fire at 2210 Lazy River Drive, off New Bern Avenue, awakened 12-year-old Donday Washington Jr.
"I saw flames. I saw little embers rising. Actually, I thought it was a dream at first," Donday said. "I got up and ran and told my father there was something burning."
His father asked him to wake the rest of the family, which includes a 3-month-old and two 1-year-olds, and flee the house.
"I got my sister up, and she got her two babies. My mom got up, and she got her granddaughter, and we came across the street," Donday said.
Donday Washington Sr. said his 1997 Ford Expedition caught fire for an unknown reason – it was part of a recall last summer linked to a switch that could cause a fire – and the flames spread to the area around the garage, including his son's bedroom.
"Just the way that he responded, it was a blessing. Everbody was able to get out of the home," Washington said. "I have to thank God because it could have been so much worse."
"People tell you to stay calm during things like this, so I just tried to stay calm," Donday said.
The Red Cross put the family in a hotel for the weekend. Relatives in Fayetteville also were helping the family.
Much of the house sustained no damage from the fire and the effort to extinguish it, and Washington said the family plans to move back in as soon as repairs can be made.