The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Outreach begins after fatal house fire
As a Spotsylvania family mourns the tragic death of a teenage son, they are also suffering the destruction of their home in a weekend blaze.
Xavier Montague, 14, perished in a fire at the dwelling early Sunday morning, which was already engulfed by flames by the time firefighters arrived.
Five people—three adults and two juveniles—escaped from the home.
The family’s church, Second New Hope Baptist Church on Massaponax Church Road, is accepting donations for the family, who lost all of their material possessions in the fire.
In addition, clothing, furniture and household items can be dropped off at Kloke Enterprises, 300 Lansdowne Road in Spotsylvania County.
Donations can be dropped off Monday through Friday during normal business hours.
If people are unable to drop items off there, Kloke may be able to pick items up free of charge.
A family member, Lisa Rollins, was unable to set up a bank account for donations Monday because it was a holiday.
Winter items are needed now in men’s large, women’s large and extra-large, and boys size 12.
The family needs pants, shoes, shirts, socks and coats.
Donations by credit card can be made online at gofundme.com/LeeHill.
Those funds will go to the family to help with Xavier’s funeral costs and other expenses.
People may mail gift cards or condolences to The Montague Family, c/o B. Rollins, 10908 Courthouse Road, suite 102163, Fredericksburg, VA 22408.
The American Red Cross, Rappahannock Area Chapter has 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 or send donations to the Red Cross: Rappahannock Area Chapter, 4836 Southpoint Parkway, Frederickburg, VA 22407.
Xavier had autism and attended Gateway Academy in Spotsylvania, which serves special education students.
Spotsylvania County Schools spokeswoman Rene Daniels said extra counselors would be dispatched to Lee Hill Elementary School, Massaponax High School, schools the surviving children in the family attended, along with Gateway Academy.
Thirty-six career and volunteer firefighters and medics responded to the fire on Lee Hill School Drive at 4:13 a.m., some arriving less than 10 minutes after the blaze was reported.
Fire Chief Monty Willaford said an incident commander sent some firefighters inside the house to attempt a rescue.
Family members had reported last seeing Xavier in his bedroom.
“When you have that much fire, it could’ve been just as easy to have gone to a defensive attack and never even put people in there to begin with,” Willaford said Monday.
After first searching for Xavier in his bedroom, firefighters eventually located the teen near a living-room window.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Willaford has said the home was not survivable when firefighters arrived. The 1,296-square-foot dwelling, which was last assessed at $66,300, was destroyed.
The fire marshal’s office and the Sheriff’s Office are investigating the cause of the fire.
A total of six people have been killed in fires in Virginia since Friday, according to the Associated Press.
About two weeks ago, Spotsylvania firefighters rescued a woman from a house fire on Lansdowne Road.
The woman, who was confined to a bed at the time of the fire, died several days later.
Staff writers Amy Flowers Umble and Jeff Branscome contributed to this report.
Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976