CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A neighborhood was left mourning the loss of two children killed in an early Monday morning house that also injured three family members.
Chesterfield and Richmond Fire crews were called to the home on Flynn Drive, near Chippenham Parkway and Hull Street Road, at about 3:55 a.m.
Thelma Lane, who has lived next door to the family for 17 years, woke up to pounding on her front door.
“I woke up at 4 o’clock this morning with Hunter, the father, banging on the door like crazy,” she recalled. “I got up and he said, ‘The house is in flames and the boys are in there.’”
Lane said the family of five, who treated her like their adoptive grandmother, struggled to get out of the home.
She watched the mother run from the burning home holding her newborn daughter.
“I came out here screaming and next thing I knew they were handing me the baby. [The mother] was covered in blood and the baby was covered in soot,” Lane said.
Chesterfield Fire said four members of the family were rushed to the hospital.
A boy in a wheelchair died on the second floor of the home and his brother died at the hospital, according to family members with knowledge of the situation.
Lt. Kenny Mitchell said the mother and her baby were last listed in critical condition. The father was last listed as stable in the hospital.
“This is the part of the job we hate the most. This is the part of the job that hurts the most,” Lt. Mitchell said.
He highlighted the struggles and impacts a deadly fire has on firefighters.
“This is the hardest part of their job seeing this type of destruction and families hurt like this. This is extremely hard on us physically, emotionally, mentally, it’s draining,” Mitchell said.
The names and ages of the deceased have not yet been released.
The cause of the house fire remains under investigation.
Firefighters were staged at the home for nearly 12 hours as they investigated.
Crime scene tape wraps around the home which investigators deemed a total loss.
It was unclear whether the home had working smoke detectors.
A family friend has set up a GoFundMe to help the family with hospital bills and funeral costs.
The fundraiser raised more than $5,700 in less than two hours.
A second GoFundMe to support the family has been set up to help offset expenses.
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