Officials Investigate Madison Heights Fire, Victims Cope with Loss
Madison Heights, VA., - A Madison Heights family is homeless, after a fire swept through their home Sunday night on Wright Shop Road.
Fire investigators are still trying to determine the cause, but they don't suspect arson.
The family of six is staying at a local hotel for the next few days, thanks to the Red Cross.
When firefighters arrived to the scene Sunday night, sparks were still flying.
Dispatchers thought a 74-year-old woman was trapped inside, but she was eventually discovered at a house next door.
A 9-1-1 call captured the scary moments.
"Is your grandmother the only one that's in the house at this time?," a dispatcher asks.
"No! My grandma, my 4-year-old, my brother. My whole house is on fire! My whole house is on fire," the caller said.
The director of public safety says all five of the six residents were inside when the fire started.
Leandre Robertson was watching TV. around 10 p.m. when a sound caught his attention.
"It was like a snap, crackle, pop. I thought it was like a tree or something that fell. But when I went outside, the porch was on fire," Robertson said.
Monday, public safety officials begin their quest for answers.
"The thing we do today is put the puzzle back together - what did cause this fire and can we learn something from it," said Gary Roakes.
Burn patterns suggest the fire started in the upper portion of the front of the house.
"It just looks like alligator skin, we call it heavy charring, all around the door area, up in this area here," Roakes explained.
With no renter's insurance and very few belongings, the family is now forced to pick up where the fire left off.
"We called 9-1-1 and wanted them to stop it. Now, everything gone," Robertson said.
The people who lived at the home range in ages from 74 to just four years old.
The Red Cross typically covers hotel stays for up to three days.