Family remembers house fire victim

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Eric Blackstock - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Family and friends are remembering a man killed in a house fire in Richmond's north side Saturday.

Firefighters responded to 1915 Rose Avenue where they found heavy flames shooting from a second-floor window and 67-year-old Matthew Benjamin already dead inside.

You can sense the Benjamin family's sadness as they comb through what's left of their little brother's belongings. Inside the scorched home are pictures and other memories they try to salvage.

"It was just his time. It was his time to go," said Daniel Benjamin, Matthew Benjamin's oldest brother. "We love him, but God love him more and he took him away."

Benjamin was taken away in a fire that left witnesses stunned.

"They were massive," neighbor Dawell Rogers said. "They were massive coming out the top, kind of corner shaped. They were massive; at least six or seven feet tall."

When firefighters arrived on the scene, they didn't hear any smoke alarm. At this point, there's too much damage on the second floor of the home for investigators to determine if there was even a system in place.

At one point, the fire department had to evacuate the home for fears it was unstable and could injure those inside. One firefighter was taken to the hospital with burns to his legs. A woman watching the tragedy unfold was treated at the scene for chest pains.

The 67-year-old Benjamin lived alone. His family tells us they tried to get him to move into a seniors' residence, but he loved his home.

"He was one that used to love to be alone and he was a loveable person, but he didn't like a crowd," Daniel Benjamin said.

The Benjamin family now tries to think of the way Matthew lived, not the manner in which he died.

"We'd sit down and talk about the old days and the new days," Johnny Benjamin said. "He was just a pleasant person to be around."

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