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RICHMOND, Va. – A Virginia firefighter was on duty Monday when an emergency call came in about a fire at his mother’s house.

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Ricky Johnson heard the call come in around 2 p.m., WRIC reported.

Flames shot from the second-floor windows. Thick smoke poured from the roof.

“First thing I was worried about was is she still inside,” Johnson told WRIC. “The most hurtful feeling is knowing it’s your mom and I couldn’t get in contact with her. I’m at work and I’m responding to my mother. We go out here and try to save lives and help people on a daily basis, but when it’s your own, it really hurts.”

Vivian Johnson, who is legally blind, heard a pop, then felt the heat. She was able to feel her way through the house to the front door and escaped as crews arrived to extinguish the blaze. Investigators said the fire started in a guest room and the cause was electrical.

Johnson, 66, has lived in the house since 1970. Her parents gave it to her when they died. “I’m so sorry Mom and Dad,” Johnson said through tears. “I feel like I let you down.”

Ricky Johnson said he is trying to help his mother sift through the ash and rubble. He said the house was insured but his mother lost everything in the fire.

“When you see your mom crying and you can’t stop your mom from crying, that hurts,” he said. “It’s my responsibility to try and make my mom whole again.”