“To this small community here, it hits home” : 8-month-old baby dies in Appalachia house fire

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 5:02 PM EDT
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WISE COUNTY, VA. (WYMT) - A home in Appalachia, Virginia caught fire Monday morning, claiming the life of an eight month old girl.

The Town of Appalachia Fire Department responded to a report of a house fire located on the 1300 block of Lower Exeter Road.

By the time crews arrived it was already overwhelming the home; “The fiber optic lines, the telephone lines, fiber optic for our local cable and the power lines were already pretty burnt and already laying on the ground,” Deputy Fire & EMS Chief Travis Anderson said. “We had a full involved single story structure, wood frame structure...older home and we had a heavy fire.”

Fire officials say a 30-year-old woman and 3-year-old boy were able to safely escape the home but despite all efforts to get her children to safety, the woman’s daughter died.

“The mother did advise that she woke up and that there was heavy fire all around her and she did get one of her kids out of the house and then the other one she couldn’t get because of the heavy fire involved. She did suffer some burns herself, the face, hands, hair, back of her neck and all that,” Anderson said.

With tragedies like these, Anderson reminds people the importance of having a smoke detector in the home, and knowing how it works.

“People need to be educated about the type of smoke detector they have in their house because there is two different types that are out there on the market. You have photo electric and you have the ionization. They are two different types of smoke detectors,” he said.

He and his fellow firefighters ask the community to unite and support the family.

“Thoughts…prayers need to be with the families. To this small community here, it hits home. You know and it hurts with any loss of life in this line of work but when it’s a child, it really impacts you really hard,” he said.

The fire is now being looked into by Virginia State Police.

The origin and cause of the fire are not known at this time.

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