Five people, including two children, were killed in an overnight house fire in Chesterfield Sunday, said Lt. Jason Elmore with Chesterfield Fire Department.
Chesterfield Fire was called to the 3400 block of Wicklow Lane around 3:15 a.m. and found heavy flames and smoke coming from the garage and house. Chesterfield Fire crews cleared the scene more than 10 hours later. “When we got here, the fire was already extremely heavy in the garage area and was already extending into much of the home,” said Lt. Jason Elmore, Chesterfield County Fire-EMS.
Witnesses even reported hearing several explosions.
Three first responders were injured. “In the process of trying to make those rescues and fighting the fire, two of our firefighters did suffer some minor burn injuries to their ears and face,” explained Elmore. “One of the police officers that was on scene attempted to break one of the windows. While he was doing that, [he] suffered a laceration to his arm.”
All three were treated and released from the hospital, and they're expected to be okay.
Lt. Elmore said there were smoke alarms in the house, but they don't know whether they were working or not. The survivors said they didn't hear anything.
Richie Hunt and his fiancé were asleep in the basement. Hunt had no idea the home he lived in for 15 years had been taken over by flames.
Hunt says the couple raced outside where dozens of firefighters, police, and were battling the fire as it spread from the garage, to the attic, and rest of the home. Hunt rushed over to his sister. He says she was crying in the street clinging onto her daughter. “My sister was yelling at the fire department to get my other niece and nephew,” said Hunt “That's when I turned around and saw the whole garage lit up in flames.”
Hunt said his grandparents Richard and Margaret Hudson, his mother Margie Hunt, his 3-year-old niece Maddie, and his nephew Colton were all killed in the fire. Hunt said baby Colton had just turned one earlier this month.
Hunt, his fiancée, and three other adults were rescued by firefighters.
“It honestly still feels like a dream. Any minute I'll wake up and it will on be gone, but I know it's not,” said Hunt.
Ten people live in the Wicklow Lane home. Hunt said the tight knit family enjoys being together, playing board games and watching movies. As snow fell over the shell of the Hunt's home, he said he'll hold on to the memories he made there, forever. “I've lived here for so many years. I look at it, and I'm thinking of all the times that I've had in the house, just thinking, I'm never going to be in this house again,” said Hunt.
According to Elmore, two firefighters sustained injuries to their face and ears. A police officer also suffered injuries after breaking a window in an attempt to rescue Hunt’s family members.
Investigators said they need heavy equipment to sift through the debris, so they'll be back Monday morning to determine an exact cause to the fire. They will also remove the debris from the second floor bedroom above the garage to take a closer look at where they believe the fire originated.
"We're going to have some heavy equipment come in from some contractors to be able to remove that debris away from there safely so that our fire marshals can get in and try to determine the exact cause of the fire," Elmore explained.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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