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Officials: Deadly house fire could have been started by oven

Officials: Deadly house fire could have been started by oven
Posted at 8:14 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 20:14:39-05

WAVERLY, Va. -- An early morning house fire claimed the life of a Waverly man on Tuesday.

Firefighters responding to the scene had to overcome black ice getting there and frigid temperatures once they arrived.

“It’s tough. It’s unfortunate," Wakefield Fire Chief Pat Bowden said.

“It’s a sad day In Waverly," Reid Foster, the Public Safety Coordinator for Sussex County, said.

Firefighters from three different departments spent Tuesday morning fighting the fire in the 200 block of Coppahauak Avenue.

"When we got here, the fire is through the roof, of course, coming out all the windows," Bowden said.

According to Foster, Waverly Fire arrived on the scene quickly.

“They made an initial attack, tried to go inside, was pushed back because of the heat and flames."

As more first responders arrived at the scene, more water on the fire gave firefighters another chance to get inside the burning home.

“At which time we did find one deceased victim in the bedroom of the home," Foster said.

When the 911 call came in at 7:11 a.m. on Tuesday, temperatures were well below freezing.

“The icy road conditions this morning, took a little bit of time to get here," said Foster adding “Your mind has to comprehend; hey I’ve got to go slower than I normally do because of the Road Conditions". 

Chief Bowden with Wakefield Fire Department had to drive seven miles to get on the scene.

“The conditions of the roads, they were dry but there were spots, and we were aware of that, so we adjusted our speed accordingly".

Once on scene, the cold weather affected those trying to put out the fire. 

“Cold weather played a big factor because you know fighting a fire with all the turnout gear on, you’re sweating inside and then when you take a break, you get that chill factor," Foster said

The cold weather could be behind the origin of the fire, as officers pointed out the room where flames had a significant impact.

“The heavy part of the fire was in the kitchen area," said Foster. “Quite often, you would be surprised at the number of people that will turn their oven on to heat or supplement the heat, so it is a common occurrence."

The victim will be transported to the Medical Examiner's Office in Richmond for Positive Identification.  

Sussex County has called in Investigators with the Virginia State Police to determine the exact cause of this fire.