Heartbroken family talks about fire that killed Henrico grandmother

Posted at 8:48 PM, Mar 30, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-30 20:56:55-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – The family of a 69-year-old woman who died in a Thursday night house fire in Henrico County is talking about their loss.

"I'm just shocked. I'm devastated right now," said April Throckmorton, the victim's daughter.

Henrico Fire Captain James Mellon said Friday that Anna Marie Crewe’s body was discovered inside the kitchen of the home in the 9500 block of Hoke Brady Road in Henrico County. [READ MORE: Fire engulfs Henrico home; kills 69-year-old woman]

The medical examiner said Crewe died from smoke inhalation.

Throckmorton and her husband are struggling to come to grips with the tragedy. They said when they arrived, the house was ablaze and it was total chaos.

Throckmorton told CBS 6 News’ Sandra Jones that while her father was cutting the grass, her 28-year-old son was upstairs in the home.  She said he suddenly heard his grandmother yelling that the house was on fire.

"He went back to the Florida room to get her,” said Throckmorton. “He could tell that's where it started.  He thought she was behind him when he came out, [but] she wasn't.  He went back to try and find her but it was too much smoke he couldn't.”

Throckmorton said her son is shaken and blames himself for not being able to get his grandmom out. But when he went back, he just couldn’t find her, Throckmorton said.

A neighbor also rushed in to try to help rescue Throckmorton’s mom from the burning home, but the smoke was just too thick. She said she wished to thank all of the neighbors who came to the family’s aid.

Additionally, fire officials were forced to bring in a water tanker because the closest hydrant was three miles away.

"That operation went very smoothly...went very quickly,” said Henrico fire Capt. James Mellon. “The biggest issue that we had here was the advance conditions when we arrived here."

Mellon said it took 40 to 45 firefighters and command staff to battle the intense blaze.

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the blaze, but said it appears accidental. The home did have working smoke detectors.

The family said Crewe was a Phillip Morris employee for three decades.  Funeral arrangements are underway.