CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A family is in mourning after the loss of two children in a deadly fire on Monday.
The Slaytons, a family of five, were inside their home on the 1600 block of Flynn Road when the blaze broke out.
Authorities said that Chesterfield County Fire & EMS crews were dispatched at 3:56 a.m. on Monday for a reported house fire. When they arrived, they immediately went into rescue mode. Public Information Officer Lt. Kenny Mitchell told 8News that the home was fully engulfed in flames and has since been deemed a total loss.
But the most devastating loss is that of Cody Slayton, 8, and his younger brother Liam, 4.
“The only comfort that I think that any of us have is that they’re together, and Cody loved Liam so much and he was always his comfort here on earth, and so I know he is in heaven,” the boys’ aunt, Christie Goode, said. “I know he’s taking care of his brother and that’s what we just try to hold onto, at this point.”
Goode is Hunter Slayton’s half-sister. Hunter, the boys’ father, was hospitalized after the fire. But Goode said he was released on Wednesday.
“Physically, he is okay,” Goode said. “Mentally, this is going to be a very long road for him. Those boys were his entire life. He dedicated every bit of his time to them.”
Hunter’s wife, Michal, and their infant daughter remain in the hospital. Michal was Cody and Liam’s stepmother.
Goode said that Michal and her husband did everything they could to save the boys.
“He woke up and his house is consumed in smoke,” she said. “The only reason why he, Michal and the baby survived was because they were all in the same room. Cody was across the hall. Michal tried everything she could do to get to him. Her hands are burnt now from trying to open the doors to get to him.”
Goode said that Michal’s condition is severe and that she remains unable to communicate with the family.
“She is in a little more critical condition. She is doing okay. She will recover. It’s just going to be a little bit of a lengthier process,” she said. “The baby’s doing better, as well. I believe that she’s doing much better than to be expected, for as small as she is and the trauma.”
In all, Goode said that the family is devastated by the loss of young Cody and Liam.
“They were so loved and they still are. They’ll always be so loved and just remembered for their beautiful smiles. Their personalities were just out of this world,” she said. “Both the sweetest boys I’ve ever met, honestly, just so loving and so sweet, and I hate that their lives were cut short.”
Goode said that Cody could often be seen hugging his baby sister or looking out for his little brother, Liam, who she said developed a disability shortly after he was born.
“My brother was extremely close to him because of that. He did everything he could to try to make Liam’s life easier. He built wheelchairs for him and added things for him to stimulate him and just to keep him comfortable and try to make his life as normal as possible,” Goode said. “Just day by day with him. But it was always a beautiful thing.”
As the family tries to move forward, Goode said that they are grateful for the community support. She said that while donations for the baby girl are appreciated, the Slaytons are also in need of groceries and furniture to help them rebuild.
“We’re trying to use as many resources as possible. We’ve had amazing support,” Goode said. “One step in front of the other, piece by piece, as opposed to looking at the big picture because it’s so overwhelming to try to figure out how to even begin to put your life back together, especially when those boys were their world.”