CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — An elderly woman is dead, and the inside of the house she lived in has been severely damaged after a fire tore through her Chesterfield home on Friday night.
The call came in for a structure fire in the 8600 block of Chester Forest Lane near Kingsland Road just after 10 p.m. Video taken by 8News crews at the scene captured fire trucks, ambulances, and forensics units.
The woman who died in that house fire has since been identified by her next-door neighbor, Pamela Mays. Mays said her close friend, Carole LaBudde, had been living in that home for decades.
Mays described to 8News her experience on the night of the fire.
“Obviously, we heard sirens. We received phone calls. The fire department had said that there was a fire,” she said. “By the time I got out of our home, we ran over here, my husband and I. You could see flames coming from the house. All the vents had smoke.”
Mays shared that she had just come from her friend’s house earlier that day. She said she never could have imagined that just hours later, she would be watching the fire department enter that same home to battle the blaze inside.
“We were able to let the fire department in,” Mays continued. “And when that happened, there was a billow of smoke coming out. So, it had burned for some time.”
According to a press release from the Chesterfield Fire Department, it took crews about 30 minutes to get the fire under control, after which LaBudde’s body was found inside the house.
May said that LaBudde suffered from certain medical and physical disabilities which may have contributed to her not being able to make it out of the flames.
“She again was paralyzed from the waist down, she did have medical conditions,” May explained. “She had recently been put into hospice and unfortunately had deteriorated. and didn’t even have the strength to even try to get out of the house. Unfortunately.”
According to Mays, she had lived next door to LaBudde for about thirty-five years they had been “sister-like” friends since they moved in.
Mays said “Miss Carol was a fabulous friend, neighbor and I consider her my sister. Given the longevity that we’ve been together side by side here in Freemont. She was very giving. She just thought of others before herself.”
We’re told LaBudde was in her early eighties.
There are still a lot of unknown details about how the house fire started. Chesterfield Fire says that this is an ongoing investigation and that they will release more details about the incident when they become available.