COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WRIC) — A Colonial Heights couple is trying to pick up the pieces after a house fire destroyed their personal belongings and killed all of their pets.
Just under two weeks ago, Christopher and Candice Bennett came home to almost nothing. Most of their belongings were completely charred. The couple had just moved back to Virginia and had been renting a home.
On Sept. 12, the couple had left to take their nephew fishing. Later that day, their neighbor Samuel Peacemaker was working on projects in his backyard when he noticed something was wrong.
“I kept smelling smoke but I just figured somebody was burning a fire pit or people behind me were burning their fire pit,” said Peacemaker. He told 8News he saw smoke coming from the attic and called 911.
Colonial Heights Fire and EMS responded to the home on Shuford Avenue in Colonial Heights. According to the department, the fire was coming from the crawl space under the home.
“When they popped open the door, smoke just rolled out,” said Peacemaker.
Now, walking into the home the Bennett family sees caution tape covering the back bedroom, a massive hole in the floor, discolored walls, leftover debris and an empty laundry room where their three dogs’ crates once were.
Candice Bennett said she received the devastating phone call around 8:30 p.m.
Bennett has been with her husband for seven years and their three dogs Delilah, Kojack, and Chinook meant so much to the family for multiple reasons.
“It’s really difficult. It’s just me and my husband and we had our three dogs. That’s really all we have and with three of them gone, it’s kind of earth-shattering,” said Bennett.
Crews found the deceased dogs when they arrived, killed by the smoke and flames. The couple also lost their pet bearded dragon, Cheddar.
“We’ve had a lot of trouble having children so they really meant everything to us,” said Bennett.
According to a document from the Colonial Heights Fire and EMS about the incident, the fire was cause by an electrical failure, malfunction.
The family told 8News the Red Cross will be assisting. Bennett’s brother Dustin Bowles has organized a GoFundMe to help the family get back on their feet. The fundraiser has raised $500. According to Bowles, the proceeds will help them get clothes, food and relocation assistance. Proceeds will also go towards assisting in getting all of their pets cremated.