An early-morning fire displaced four family members Monday in Walthourville.
The wife and three children of a deployed soldier escaped serious injury as smoke rolled through their single-story home at 31 Setter Lane.
According to officials, a water heater in the garage may be the cause of the fire.
Eva Smith, who shares the home with her 2-year-old boys and 5-year-old daughter, said she was giving the children a bath about 7:30 a.m. when she realized there was no hot water.
Smith went to the garage to check the circuit breakers and began flipping them.
She said she heard a buzzing sound, and a flash of light came from the water heater, which was located in the garage. Flames shot from the water heater.
Smith called Liberty 911 and got the children out of the house.
Walthourville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department senior fire fighter Scott Jones said there was light smoke coming from the residence when firefighters arrived.
However, they encountered heavy smoke when they tried to enter the garage and were met by flames in the home’s living area.
The home sustained smoke and water damage and the garage sustained major damage.
Jones said 21 volunteer fire fighters from Riceboro, Gum Branch and Hinesville assisted in getting the fire extinguished.
The Red Cross is assisting Smith and her children.
Her husband, Brandon Smith, currently is deployed to Afghanistan.