County supervisor's home goes up in flames

VARINA, VA (WWBT) - Investigators are looking into what caused a fire that destroyed a home in Henrico County early Wednesday morning. It belongs to Varina District Supervisor Jim Donati.

The fire started just before 6:00 a.m., on the 5200 block of Fisher Crest lane in the Deep Run Ridge neighborhood.

Fire crews were on scene all morning putting out hot spots after the fire destroyed the home. Neighbors said flames grew so tall, they could see them over the tree line.

Varina District Supervisor Jim Donati, put his home on the market a couple of years ago. He hoped to sell it soon.

"It's shocking to hear the news," Donati noted. "It's completely gone."

It could have spread through the woods and to other homes if neighbor Kris Ruiz hadn't seen the flames in time. His pup copper barked when she saw the copper red and orange flames.

"Normally I ignore her because she barks at everything," Ruiz said. "I looked out the window and saw the fire."

Firefighters had to bring in water because the nearest hydrant is a mile away. It took several hours to put out the fire and remaining hot spots.

Henrico Fire Captain Chris Buehren says, even though Donati is a public figure, crews will carry out the investigation the same way they would for any fire victim.

"There's no exception to the rule being that it is an elected official," said Buehren. "We would do the investigation like we would with any other citizen of the county.

Donati built part of his home. Wednesday, he watched his work burn to the ground.

"I pray everyday that the good Lord would take me through it," Donati added.

Investigators are on scene all day looking into the cause of the fire. They took pictures and talked to witnesses to gather more information.

Donati says he has home insurance. This fire happened just one month before his run for re-election.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.