Community rallies behind family of RPS principals killed in house fire

Posted at 7:24 PM, Jan 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-02 19:29:15-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Friends and colleagues are remembering the "immense" impact of two former Richmond Public School administrators killed in a house fire on New Year's Eve.

The couple's son and grandson, who escaped the blaze by jumping from the second floor of the home, are recovering in the hospital, according to family friends.

Henrico fire officials said John Lane and his wife Janet Hall-Lane were killed when their home on Heritage Lane in Glen Allen caught fire around 1:30 a.m. New Year's Eve.  Smoke detectors in the home were working, investigators said. The cause is still under investigation.

House fire at home on Heritage Lane off Staples Mill Road

House fire at home on Heritage Lane off Staples Mill Road

"It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Mr. and Mrs. Lane. Both were long-time members of the RPS family," a Richmond Public Schools spokesperson said in a statement Monday. "Mr. and Mrs. Lane were caring colleagues who will be greatly missed by all who knew them."

John Lane began his RPS career in 1962 as a science teacher at Armstrong, and became a principal at two RPS schools before his retirement, according to RPS officials.  Hall-Lane began working at RPS in the 1980's and was currently serving as an assistant principal at Bellevue Elementary in Church Hill.

Firefighters said the couple's son and grandson escaped the blaze.

Family friends tell CBS 6 Jay Lane and his 12-year old son both jumped from the second floor of the home. Jay Lane broke his back and will undergo surgery this week, friends said.

Bellevue Elementary

Bellevue Elementary

Jay is a beloved teacher and basketball coach in Hampton Roads. A GoFundMe page set up to help with his medical costs has raised several thousand dollars in less than 24 hours.

Merrill Gray, a longtime friend and former high school basketball teammate of Jay, said he visited his friend in the hospital Sunday. According to Gray, Jay said he is cherishing the support and love his family has received as he continues to recover and mourn.

"Everybody is trying to put their arms around them and put our arms around them and do the best we can for them," Gray said.  "Like Jay said yesterday, what's really keeping him going is the love he's getting from other people."

Officials said Jay and his son's injuries are serious, but not life threatening.



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