Family members, neighbors save elderly couple from burning Henrico home

(Source: Henrico Fire Department)
(Source: Henrico Fire Department)
Published: Jul. 13, 2017 at 1:58 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2017 at 10:21 PM EDT
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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Firefighters say the heroic actions of neighbors saved the lives of an elderly couple during a house fire Thursday morning that sent a total of six people to the hospital.

The home in the 3500 block of Charles City Road, just a couple miles behind the airport, went up in flames. It took firefighters several hours to get this fire under control.

"I pray to God that they're all right," said Harold Brown, who lives down the road.

"When I woke up, I heard the commotion," said Carolyn Burton, who lives across the street. "I came out, and it was engulfed with fire."

When the call came in around 9:25 a.m., firefighters say two neighbors and the elderly couple's son, who lives on the property, jumped into action.

"He tried to get his mother and father out, and he got burned on his legs, that's my understanding of it," said Brown.

Stephanie Adickes says she rushed to her aunt and uncle's house after getting a call about the fire. Her brother Christopher Ragland who lives across the street from their family members went inside.

"Doing God's work is what he always says," explained Adickes.

She says her brother is known as a rescuer in the family, always looking out for others.

"Pretty sure Chris had Aunt Norma, had gotten Aunt Norma out," said Adickes.

When crews got there, firefighters say everybody was on the lawn and then taken to the hospital. One person had serious injuries - luckily, they are expected to recover.

"We've got a lot of unspoken heroes, and I consider my brother one," said Adickes.

Adickes says her brother was taken to the hospital and continues to heal, with doctors monitoring the amount of carbon monoxide in his system.

"We certainly tip our hat to their efforts," said Captain Taylor Goodman. "And I think encouraging somebody to go in is certainly something we don't do, but in this case, it looks like it really saved their lives."

Neighbors say both the man and woman are 85 years old and dealing with various health issues.

"They're very good neighbors," said Brown. "She had not been out of the house in about eight or 10 years. She was somewhat bedridden. He took care of her every move she made."

Crews worked to control the fire, but getting water on the flames wasn't easy. The closest fire hydrant is a mile-and-a-half away, so they had to do a tanker shuttle to get water to the house.

The heat was working against them as well. One firefighter had to be taken to the hospital for heat exhaustion.

The fire marshal was able to get here pretty quickly, but because of how extensive this house fire is, the cause is still under investigation.

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