Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Incident Review Team inspects home of fatal fire

Members of the Incident Review Team visited the home of the Feb. 5 fire that took the life of Sandy Hill.

Fire and Rescue Chief Chris Eudailey appointed two volunteers and two career members to the panel to conduct a complete review of the Feb. 5. They were at the home early this morning for more than an hour.

Eudailey said this level of a review has never happened under his two decades with the department.

There have been several people who have told members of the media that the layout of the house is confusing. I have obtained a layout of the house and we will publish it with a story I am currently working on.

The area where the fire started– in a hallway between the main bathroom and the front door–is a bit of a maze of doors. Depending on where the search team entered and the amount of smoke in the home, the first floor could have been problematic. Even so, they successfully rescued a 17-year-old girl in 12 minutes.

The second floor appears to be less confusing, with the door to Hill’s room about 12 feet left of the top of the stairs. It took about 20 minutes to find Hill on the second floor.

The layout of the house should help readers better understand what the search teams faced that night.


  • DR

    Not finding the victim is only one of the problems. Water supply was a significant issue. The fact that no ladders were thrown is a significant issue. A volunteer Chief out a Tower in service for the use of a tanker. That’s baffling considering they had hydrants in the parking lot across the street. They passed the structure and it had a patrol car in the driveway. I will be doing my own study and forwarding it to my county supervisor. Nobody likes higher taxes but we are already spending 20k+ for fire equipment and it isn’t being used and someone dies. Oh, did I forget to mention that they didn’t use the thermal imager on the unit in their search? My bad. This was a serious goat rope from the very beginning. Funny how dillard came out in support of the vollies within hours and is now having to backtrack. I pay taxes in this county and I would sure like some peace of mind that those people staffing the fire stations know what the he** they are doing. Not a sermon, just a thought…or several.

  • MD

    Why are County officials doing a internal investigation? This only leads to further finger pointing with in the combination system. What the County Board of Supervisors and County Admin. should do is have an outside panel investigate this incident. I believe additional statements and possibly the truth will come out and be published regarding the fire from first dispatch to the last volunteer leaving the scene. Inexpirence in the volunteer fire service of Spotsylvania County lead to high tech equipment not being utilized and at periods, mass CONFUSION..! Throwing ladders and primary searches should be second nature for the firefighters, as well as using thermal imaging camera’s. I hope this internal review panel will see the major issues facing the volunteer system in Spotsylvania County. For the sake of the internal panel and the citizens I hope Mr. Dillard is not on that panel. I do not beleive that person has any firefighting experience. I guess the politician side of him will shine through and he can get back to covering up staffing statistics, blowing smoke and sweeping major issues under the carpet on the fire and ems commission. Just a thought here. Time for change is right around the corner….!

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