A well-known, respected man is dead following a house fire in Charles City County. The fire started just before 11 a.m. on Old Union Road near Charles City Road.
Crews believe the fire sparked in the bedroom and quickly spread throughout the home. They found 84-year-old Marion Hughes dead shortly after they arrived.
It's news no family wants to hear, especially days before Christmas.
Crews spent hours investigating the fire. Neighbors say Mr. Hughes was a pillar in the community. He's lived there for as long as they can remember.
"I suspect 30 to 40 years. I know it's been a long time."
Neighbors say Hughes even used to own a corner store across from his home. It's now a church. Wilbur Adkins is the pastor of that church. He says he knew Hughes - and went straight to his faith when he found out about the fire.
"I was just praying that he made it through," said Adkins. "It's sad he didn't make it there."
The Sheriff's Office says the last time anyone saw Hughes was Saturday morning. His caretaker, who visits him everyday, had left at 10 a.m. - just 45 minutes before the fire was reported.
Deputies believe Hughes died from breathing in too much smoke. The caretaker arrived early Saturday afternoon to identify him.
"It is very sad," said Charles City County Sheriff' Javier Smith. "It's unfortunate and our hearts go out to the family."
Deputies, fire crews, and state police stayed on scene for hours Saturday as investigators tried to pinpoint some answers.
Police have not said if they suspect any foul play at this time, but we'll continue to bring you updates on this investigation.
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