2-year-old boy killed in Blackstone house fire

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 4:03 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2022 at 11:13 PM EDT
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BLACKSTONE, Va. (WWBT) - First responders continue investigating a house fire in Blackstone on Sunday that killed a 2-year-old boy.

According to the Blackstone Volunteer Fire Department, crews were dispatched to the fire on the corner of Luke and North Hardy streets at 12:10 p.m.

Neighbors NBC12 spoke with say they could see a large cloud of black smoke from outside their windows followed by a chaotic scene.

“I was kind of scared, and I didn’t know what was going on. And then, all of a sudden, I walked outside, and I saw this blazing fire, and then I saw everybody coming down and everybody screaming and yelling,” Namian Brown, a neighbor, said. “Then I saw the dad crying that his baby was inside.”

Dijon Anderson, a neighbor, said he called 911 as soon as he saw the smoke.

Once neighbors heard there was still a child inside the home, many ran over to try and help get the boy out.

Anderson said neighbors tried breaking windows to get inside the home and get the boy out.

“Somebody tried to climb in, somebody tried to go in through the back window, somebody tried going in right here, and somebody tried going in right here, but every time when you go in, it was too much smoke,” Anderson said. “So, no matter if you cover your face or not, you still can’t breathe or anything. So, you got to come back out to get air.”

He said a first responder arrived just minutes after the call he made with a fire extinguisher in hand.

“He was spraying. He was spraying, but it just kept on coming and coming, and that’s when we hear a loud boom,” Anderson said.

Anderson said the loud boom was from a power line attached to the home.

“Then he was like turn the water off, and everybody had to get away from the house, and then we had to wait on the fire department,” Anderson said. “By the time they got here, the whole house was on fire.”

Firefighters were able to contain the fire, but unfortunately, the child did not make it out.

A memorial now sits in front of the window of the room family members say the boy was sleeping in.

“That actually ruined Father’s Day for a lot of fathers in this community because it’s a 2-year-old,” Anderson said. “Nobody wants to lose their child that young.”

Iyanna Burke, a neighbor, put flowers at the memorial Monday night and said she is not only praying for the father but for the boy’s mother as well.

“I just want the mom to know that she is in my heart so deep,” Burke said. “I don’t know the pain that she’s feeling and I just want to apologize to her that she had to lose her little one in this type of way.”

The Blackstone Volunteer Fire Department also addressed its response time in a post on Facebook, giving the following timeline from dispatch:

  • 0:27 First Officer Marked enroute to the Station
  • 1:29 Sergeant marked enroute to the scene
  • 3:14 Sergeant marked on location and established command
  • 4:21 Engine-3 marked enroute with full Crew
  • 5:12 Engine-5 marked enroute with a Crew of 4
  • 7:18 Engine5 marked on-scene

The fire department also said that Engine-3 did not mark on-scene but did arrive before Engine-5 and was establishing water supply and pulling attack lines before Engine-5′s arrival.

The fire department posted the following statement, saying in part:

“FEMA has a response standard for Career departments to have an Engine on scene within 4 minutes from dispatch. These are departments that have members in quarters and waiting for an emergency. We are an all-VOLUNTEER agency and all of us responded from home, majority living outside of the Town of Blackstone, drove to the station, donned our gear, jumped on a fire truck and responded to the scene.

“While we all wish we could have been there sooner, and able so save a child’s life, we did our best to provide a timely response. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire family affected by this tragedy.”

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