World War II veteran, wife perish in Dinwiddie fire

Posted at 3:42 PM, Nov 11, 2013

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Firefighters found the bodies of a World War II veteran and his wife inside their Dinwiddie County home on Veterans Day. Those who knew Maude and Charles Leucht say they were inseparable.

Firefighters tell us they found the Dinwiddie couple in a back bedroom of their Cox Road home. Both Maude, 87, and her husband Charles who would've turned 88 Monday, died after an afternoon fire, their trailer home reduced to smoldering debris.

"I don't ever remember them apart," said a family friend, Jamie Vancleef.

Dinwiddie firefighters responded around noon Monday.  "We found half of the structure heavily involved in fire," said Chief Dennis Hale.

The flames were so intense, firefighters made a quick attack from the outside.  But the location in deep southern Dinwiddie made it a challenge to fight.  With no hydrants nearby, tanker trucks had to shuttle water in.

Nothing about the fire suggested foul play.

"We don't see anything at this point other than accidental," said Hale.

Fire investigators will work to determine a cause.

“I’ve been hauling firewood for him the past 10 to 15 years,” said Sonny Cairnes, who has known the Leucht family for decades. "It’s a sad thing,” he said.  “I'll miss them both."

"Charles was a tough old man,” said Vancleef.  “He'd come here and get gas every now and then and the guy never missed church. He went every Sunday."

On a day where friends say Charles would normally have a double dose of celebration.  "He was a World War Two veteran,” said Vancleef.   And Cairnes pointed out Monday was his birthday.

Instead, his family grieves for the loss of loved ones, their friends taking small comfort in the fact that they had each other until the very end.

"They went everywhere together,” said Vancleef. “They would've been miserable without each other, I'm sure."

The Leuchts will be taken to the medical examiner’s office in Richmond.  There is no official cause on what started the fire, but friends tell CBS- 6  that the couple was known to crank up the wood stove when the temperature got cold.

"Water supply was an issue due to the lack of municipal hydrants in the area. Tankers were used to shuttle water from a dry hydrant approximately 3 miles from the scene," Hale wrote.

State Police and Dinwiddie fire investigators continue to work to determine what caused the fire.