Neighbors want answers after South Richmond fire

Posted at 9:08 PM, Dec 08, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Both Richmond Police and Fire responded to a fire in South Richmond early Saturday morning near the 3200 block of Cofer Road.

Some neighbors witnessed a chaotic scene that played out at the Briarwood Court apartments. 

"I heard the noises like sirens and stuff like that," Steven Jones said.  "But I just assumed that they were going somewhere else," he added.  "It was like right here." 

Jones, who lives in the complex, says he saw investigators outside his front door.

"They were standing at this house with the windows open," Jones said.  "The third black door and the other side I saw the ladder from a fire truck stand above it," he stated.  "They put it like above the house."

When firefighters forced their way into a burning building near the 3200 block of Cofer Road Saturday morning, they discovered a man's body in the same room where the fire started.

Police identified the victim as 78-year-old Walter J. Boone.

Arson investigators and RPD's forensic unit were on the scene for eight hours trying to piece together what became a death investigation.

Some neighbors living in the complex watched and waited for hours, hoping to get answers.

"Very surprised," resident Jordan Rutley said.  "Never would've expected to come home and see all this action out here.”

"It's strange, but at the same time it's sad because he was an older guy and he lived alone," another neighbor said.

A woman, who declined to be identified, told CBS 6 that she knew Boone.

"You just know him as the neighborhood guy," she said.  "Come outside and say, hey, how you doing,” the woman stated.  “He pretty much kept to himself," she added.  "You couldn't say nothing wrong about him," the woman said.  "He was a nice guy he always spoke." 

However, the only thing authorities confirmed so far is that they do not suspect foul play. 

Still, Jones is suspicious about the situation due to very little information, which leaves him concerned about the crime in his neighborhood. 

"It's very unfortunate," Jones said.  "Stuff like this shouldn't happen."

Boone's body has been taken to the medical examiner’s office.  They will determine the exact cause of death.