The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Teenager dies in Spotsylvania fire
UPDATE: Family members say that they will set up a bank account this week for the family affected by the fire. In the meantime, people who want to help can email firstname.lastname@example.org. The displaced family doesn’t have anywhere to store donations, so at this point, relatives are mainly asking for gift cards or money. There will be more information on how to help later in the week. Lisa Rollins, who lived down the street from the house which burned said, “Prayers are always appreciated.”
The Red Cross America Rappahannock Chapter helped the family, said chapter Director Helen Parham. If anyone is interested in donating to the Red Cross to defray those costs, they can call 540/735-0500.
By AMY UMBLE
A 14-year-old boy died early Sunday morning in a fire at his Spotsylvania County home.
As they arrived at the home on Lee Hill School Drive at 4:13 a.m., firefighters found the house already engulfed in flames, said Fire Chief Monty Willaford.
“When firefighters arrived, they found extremely heavy fire conditions,” he said. “Fire was observed venting through doors and windows of the house; they experienced extreme fire conditions upon entering the house.”
The cause of the fire, which destroyed the home, was undetermined. The fire marshal’s office and the sheriff’s office are investigating. The victim’s body was transported to the state medical examiner’s office in Richmond.
Five people—three adults and two juveniles—had escaped the fiery house. But 14-year-old Xavier Montague remained inside.
“Due to the amount of fire present when firefighters arrived, the fire would not have been survivable,” Willaford said.
After firefighters searched the house and located the young man, he was declared dead at the scene, Willaford said.
“Our hearts go out to the family, I can’t imagine what they will be going through,” he said.
It took about 40 minutes for firefighters to locate Xavier, who was found near a living room window. Firefighters first looked for the teen in his bedroom, where family members said they had last seen him.
The five people at the home included a teenage girl, a 9-year-old boy, the children’s grandmother and father and mother, Willaford said.
The Red Cross was called to assist the displaced family. Relatives have also started collecting donations of funds and basic items, and a bank account is expected to be set up later this week.
The three children attend three different Spotsylvania County schools. Extra counselors will be available to students at those schools who need help dealing with the tragedy, said School Board member Amanda Blalock.
On Facebook, friends and family members remembered Xavier, who had autism, for his bright smile and cheerful personality.
Thirty-six people responded to the fire, including firefighters from Spotsylvania Volunteer Fire Department, medics from Spotsylvania Volunteer Rescue Department and firefighters and medics from Spotsylvania County’s Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management.
Auxiliary volunteers also responded to help firefighters as they battled both the blaze and frigid early-morning temperatures. The cold weather is dangerous for firefighters in that it makes their bodies burn calories more quickly. Auxiliary volunteers provided electrolyte drinks and snacks.
At the time of the fire, Spotsylvania firefighters and medics were also responding to a fatal car accident on Harrison Road, Willaford said. State police had no details on the accident last night.
And minutes after firefighters arrived on the scene of the Lee Hill fire, dispatch received a call about a fire on Bragg Road. Fire trucks and ambulances responded to that fire, which had minor damage. The county also called in first responders from Fredericksburg.
“Our resources were pretty much taxed at that point,” Willaford said.