Neighbors want something done about house destroyed in fire

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Just over six months ago, a house burned down, killing a mother and her son in Chesterfield county.

The charred house on Wrens Nest Road is still standing. Neighbors want something done about it. We've learned the sole survivor is being taken to court

Laura Sullivan vividly remembers the night her neighbors, Tracey Johnson and 12-year-old Jacob Layne died in an electrical fire just days before last Christmas.

"It was cold there was a lot of flames," said Sullivan, who lives a few doors down.

While saddened by the loss, she finds it hard to move forward.

"You drive by and you can't help but be completely reminded that you watched two human beings get taken out in body bags. It's just horrible," said Sullivan.

Johnson's husband and Jacob's father, Kenneth Layne, survived a jump from a second story window. He now owns the property, which has been the focus of a months long investigation by Chesterfield building inspectors. Trash is strewn about both in front and back and the grass is thigh high in some spots.

According to county investigation records, negotiations to sell the house fell through on June 3rd. Three days later the county moved to get a summons against the owner for a code violation. On June 20th, Layne received a summons from Chesterfield police.

Chesterfield's Chief of Inspections tells me, Layne hasn't complied with an order to rebuild or demolish. Sullivan, who applauds the county's efforts, simply wants to remember the family in a more positive way.

"I also feel for him. He's the one who lost a wife and a son and I can't even imagine, I can't put myself in his shoes, I can't imagine how hard or what steps he has to take," said Sullivan.

Layne is scheduled to face a judge on August 16th. If something is done by then the case could be dismissed.

Our call to Layne was not returned. The code violation against him is a misdemeanor.

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