A family of five has been displaced after fire broke out in a single-story house shortly before 1 p.m. on Tuesday at 1030 Gatha’s Trail in Halifax.

Thanks to an alert 16 year old, everyone escaped injury.

Residents Lecedrick Moore and Chloe Holt were not home at the time of the fire, and cousin Lunta Barksdale of Danville was alone with the three children.

“I babysit most of the time during the week,” said Barksdale of the three youngsters, all under the age of 10.

But Tuesday was the first time he had ever experienced anything life-threatening like this house fire.

Everyone was sitting in the living room either playing video games or watching YouTube videos when Barksdale said he began to smell smoke coming from a back bedroom.

He tried using his phone to call 9-1-1, but he realized it wasn’t working. He then grabbed all of the young children and ran to the neighbor’s house next door.

“I knew I had to,” said Barksdale. “I thought about grabbing some things, but I knew there was no need. I had to get them out safe. I’m thankful that everyone is OK.”

He said he knew any possessions could be replaced.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, with firefighters agreeing Barksdale was right about the fire starting in the back bedroom.

The exact cause remains under investigation, said H.C. Phillips of the Halifax Volunteer Fire Department on Tuesday afternoon.

Roughly 12 firefighters from Halifax Volunteer Fire Department, South Boston Volunteer Fire Department and Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Department arrived on four trucks and worked to bring the blaze under control. They remained on the scene for a more than an hour.

The American Red Cross is assisting the family.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com