CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Firefighters battled a house fire Tuesday afternoon in the 4200 block of Laurel Oak Road that was sparked by a heating lamp on a back deck, fire officials said.
There was “significant damage” to the house in the fire, which also killed a dog and displaced the family.
The dog was named Steve.
“He was such an awesome dog a good companion he was just a sweet heart,” Traci Franssen said.
Franssen and her boyfriend are having to come to grips with two tragedies all at once. The loss of their home in the 42-hundred block of Laurel Oak Road and the loss of their Staffordshire Terrier.
“I think I’m in shock right now, it doesn’t seem real," Franssen said.
No one was at home when the fire broke out around 3 p.m. Franssen got the call at work from a neighbor.
“Come home now, your house is on fire!” Franssen recalled.
She rushed out of her office. By the time she got home, water hoses blocked her way.
“So I parked way down the street and I ran," Franssen said. "I ran from my car here and asked who had my babies?”
That’s when she learned that while two of her dogs were fine, Steve had not made it.
“I think about the people in California, how you hear about them on the radio and think it’s so far away and then it’s right here and it’s my dog," Franssen said.
It took about 30 minutes for firefighters to get the blaze under control.
Once the fire was out, investigators were able to get closer to discover where and how the fire started on the back porch. They say there was a heating lamp to keep two outdoor dogs warm.
They say it just got too close to combustibles and sparked the blaze. The two outdoor dogs survived. Steve, who was inside, did not.
As we head into this season of chilly temperatures, fire officials say it’s crucial to remember to keep heaters of all kind at least three feet away from combustibles.
It’s a reminder that’s too late for this family who has to pick up the pieces two days before thanksgiving and move on, without one of its members.
“It just breaks my heart that he had such a terrible ending because he brought so much joy," Franssen said.