Chesterfield Fire and Police investigate house fire as ‘suspicious’

Posted at 11:09 AM, Apr 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-02 20:02:56-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – Fire crews discovered a body inside a Chester home that caught fire Tuesday morning, according to Chesterfield Fire and EMS Lt. Jason Elmore.

Elmore said that both fire and police now deem the death as suspicious. Elmore confirmed that the body has been removed from the house, and is female, but no positive identification has been made.

Earlier Elmore said Chesterfield Police and the homeowners association were working to find the person who lived in the Duxton Drive home. Neighbors told us the woman who lives there does not own the home. They say she also works in the medical field.

Michael Kennedy was heading out to the gym when black smoke from the home next door stopped him in his tracks. He said neighbors were frantically yelling and told him to call 9-1-1.

“We rushed to the front door and beat on the door to see if anyone was there. I know there’s a dog inside, but I didn’t hear the dog. I could hear the smoke alarm going off. I ran to the back of the home and saw fire coming through the back window, the bedroom window” Kennedy said.

Minutes later crews were on the scene and flames had taken over the home. Fire crews marked the fire under control around 11:30 but had to deal with hot spots for a little while after that. Elmore says a part of the roof collapsed and that kept them from entering the home to determine if anyone was inside.

He tells CBS 6 News that before they would go in, they had to bring in pieces of heavy equipment to knock down part of the back of the home and remove the debris.

Once inside, Elmore says investigators discovered a body located at the rear of the home. The medical examiner went to the scene and Elmore also confirmed the family of the person who lived in the home was also there.

Fire investigators are still trying to piece this together and determine what started the fire. At this time they are working with Chesterfield Police on the case.

CBS 6 viewer M. Smith emailed the station this video he shot with iPad

Lt. Elmore tweeted two photos of the fire damaged home.

The home is located in the Villages of Longmeadow near Longmeadow Recreation Park.