‘We lost everything,’ mother says after raging fire takes daughter, grandmother

Posted at 12:27 AM, Jan 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-14 00:27:35-05

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. -- A 12-year-old girl died trying to get her disabled grandmother to safety.

A father yelled to make sure everyone got out of the house, but he ended up trapped, and now suffers serious burns.  He's recovering at VCU Medical Center.

Firefighters believe a six-year-old boy started the double fatal fire.

"We lost everything. We have nothing,” said Victoria McNamara, whose daughter Roanna and 75-year-old mother-in-law Carole Hill, died in the Spotsylvania County fire Monday. "It burned so fast."

In a flash, those two lives were lost and even more were changed forever.


"She was very sweet, very kind, always wanting to help," said McNamara about her daughter.

That caring spirit is what made young Roanna Hill run to her grandmother’s side. But the flames spread rapidly and the smoke was thick, leaving both trapped on the second floor.  Neither was able to make it out alive.

"I saw firefighters break the window and grab my little sister and grandmother,” said Joshua Hill, 20, Roanna's older brother. “It was just awful.”

His father also suffered injuries, including second- and third-degree burns to his arms, hand and face.  Andrew Hill is expected to recover, but it will take months physically and quite possibly a lifetime, emotionally.

dad 1.

How tough is it for a mother knowing that firefighters think a six-year-old may have started this?

"He's six years old,” said McNamara. “I can't blame him. I know he looked up to his big brother and dad and was trying to light a fire in the fireplace to watch it grow."

A grief-stricken family is now coping with an unsettling reality: with the fumbled strike of a match to a log, their family is forever changed.

Adding to the heartbreak is that the darkness which has followed the two deaths is a stark contrast to what was happening just 20 minutes before the flames erupted.

"Right before I left, we were in Roanna’s room listening to "Funk You Up by Bruno Mars" said Joshua.  “She was dancing. It was one of the best moments I've had with her."

Tuesday night the family tonight set up a‘GoFund Me’ page. People have also commented that they are looking for places to drop off items for the family, who have nothing now.

"If you would like to donate things such as clothes, personal items, and things of that nature, the CEO of Capital Remodeling, has offered the use of their Richmond, VA location in which to store items like this for the family. Their office is just a short 6 minute drive from the VCU Critical Care facility where Andy is being treated. His son Josh also works at this Richmond office, so the donations WILL be received by the family, and Josh Hill has given the go-ahead for donations to this location. The drop off/shipping address and contact telephone number of the Richmond location is below: Andrew Hill C/O Capital Remodeling, Inc 1316 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23220 (804)257-5959 ext 110 Manager: Justin Hughes Office Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:30am - 8:00pm Saturday 8:00am - 3:00pm For clothing for the family, the sizes are below: Victoria, around a size 0 in women's. Andy, probably a large size shirt, waist around 38 inches Tyler, size 6/7 in boys The address of the Critical Care Burn unit where Andy is being treated is below, if you would like to send cards or flowers. Please do not send donations of items to this address, this address is for the hospital. Evans-Haynes Burn Center Critical Care Hospital, 8th Floor 1213 E. Clay St. Richmond, VA 23298 This family needs their friends and family desperately at this time, and no donation is too small. Let's circle around this amazing family and support them in whatever way that we can."

McNamara said they will try to stay with family in Richmond for now, so she can be close to her husband here at VCU Medical Center.