HOPEWELL, Va. (WWBT) - A Hopewell man died Thursday morning after being burned in a house fire.
Firefighters were called to the 500 block of N 4th Avenue around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
According to the victim’s family, Bobby Joe Hagee, 55, suffered extensive burns, covering up to 95 percent of his body, in the fire. He was taken to a hospital where he later died around 3:45 a.m. Thursday.
“Our first responding crews found heavy fire on the porch and it extended into the residence,” Hopewell Assistant Fire Marshal Jamie Scott said.
Scott says a discarded cigarette may be the cause. Investigators believe it was thrown onto a couch on the porch, starting the fire.
“I’m in my window and I just see fire trucks,” neighbor Wilma Gibson said.
Gibson may not be a related by blood to Hagee, but she says she’s family nonetheless.
“When I came outside and saw the flames from the back, I could see the flames shooting through the roof,” Gibson said.
Hagee’s family says he was incredibly kind and stubborn, but incredibly helpful. They say he was as “nice as the day is long.”
Hagee’s son was also in the home at the time and was able to make it out safely.
The family’s home, which has been with them since the 1970s, was extensively damaged in the fire. It’s unknown if they will be able to return.
First responders now have a warning to all during this dry weather.
“Just be careful with sparks and embers," Scott said. “Be careful with open flames and open burning. It can spread very quickly because of the fuels and the ground is dry this time of the year.”
Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.