HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Neighbors are in shock after two former Richmond principals died in a Glen Allen house fire early Saturday morning.
Dispatchers received a 911 call at 1:38 a.m. as the home along the 10200 block of Heritage Lane off Staples Mill Road burned.
Officials said the married couple died in the blaze, but that their 50-year-old son and 12-year-old grandson managed to escape the flames.
"Two people had escaped the fire. They were in the front yard and the back yard and appeared to be suffering from serious, but non life-threatening injuries,” Henrico Fire spokesman Capt. Taylor Goodman said.
Neighbors were still trying to process the tragedy and how it happened Saturday afternoon.
"I just can't believe it," said Audrey Rhone, who lives in the neighborhood. "l just came by to take a look at it and that just add whole other level of unbelief.”
The scene was surreal for Rhone as she learned the fire claimed the lives of two former Richmond Public Schools principals: John Lane, 76, and his wife, Janet Hall-Lane, 60.
"When my husband and I and all 340 of us who were in the class of '64 graduated, Mr. John Lane was the science teacher at Armstrong High School,” Rhone said.
The Armstrong alumni remembered John Lane as a great role model.
"He was a very kind, giving person. [He was] jovial, you know, fun-like. He cared for his students,” Rhone said. "I'm sure when other classmates hear about it, they will be as shocked and in disbelief and saddened as I am.”
Henrico fire officials said the couple's 50-year-old son and 12-year-old grandson managed to escape the flames.
Rhone is praying for the family knowing the healing process will be painful especially at the start of 2017.
"We feel for them. We offer them our prayers and our condolences,” Rhone said.