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Officials working to determine cause of fire that left a couple badly burnt

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A South Bend couple is being treated at the St. Joseph Burn Center in Fort Wayne as firefighters investigate what caused flames to tear through their home Tuesday. A friend and neighbor gave ABC 57 an exclusive inside look at the damage.

Family confirmed Wednesday that Samantha Owens is still in critical condition, while her husband James is now up and walking around.

Firefighters know the fire started in the bedroom, but they’re still working to figure out what set those flames ablaze.

“It was so shocking, so random. It happened out of nowhere. Never expect something like that to happen, especially next door to you,” said family friend and next door neighbor, Alyssa Whiting.

Flames erupted out of the bedroom of a house on the 2200 block of Smith Street a little after seven Tuesday night.

Whiting rushed over to help as she saw the fire billowing out of the top floor window.

“Them flames were like pouring out the back window. It looked like a water faucet, somebody just turned on the water faucet, it broke into flames, they were like pouring, they were so dark and orange. The black smoke coming off of it was like crazy,” she said.

Meanwhile, Samantha Owens was trapped in the upstairs bedroom.

Her husband, James, tried multiple times to rescue her.

”And I was like stop, stop going in there, and he’s like my wife is in there,” said Whiting.

Eventually, firefighters arrived, carried her out through the front door, and tried to stabilize her in the front yard, where you can still see rubber gloves and a mask.

Inside, at least on the top floor, it’s completely destroyed.

“That’s the thought running through my head. It’s not real. But it is,” said Whiting.

James Owen’s brother told ABC 57 he was in the process of renovating the house, and now it’s a total loss.

ABC 57 will continue to update you on the condition of the Owens.

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