‘Our whole life was in there’; Hanover family loses everything after home reportedly set on fire

Hanover County

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Mechanicsville man has been arrested in connection to an arson that happened over two months ago. The family living in the home lost everything and is sharing their story.

The married couple and their two young children lived in the home that was reportedly set on fire. Thankfully, they weren’t home at the time, but the family of four was forced to move and start over with nothing.

Ivan Tinsley describes the last two months as ‘hell’, but is staying strong for his children and his wife, Christina Tinsley.

“I don’t know how you could do that to a family that just had a new baby. Our whole life was in there,” cried Christina. The mother of two was emotional as her almost 6 month old and three-year-old sat on her lap comforting her.

The Tinsley family lived in the house of Talley Farm Lane for about three years. On August 1, the couple received a phone call that it was on fire.


Hanover Fire put out the blaze, however, the inside was badly burned and charred. The Tinsley’s lost everything, including things money can’t buy.

“I lost my mom, all over again,” Christina cried. “I had her ashes sitting on my dresser, it was in the room. All their baby pictures from the ultrasound was in the room.”

Hanover fire ruled the blaze an arson. Ivan says fire crews found an accelerant during their investigation.

The Sheriff’s Office arrested Brenainn Sprouse on Monday, October 18. The 43-year-old is charged with a felony for the burning of personal property. Ivan told 8News he’s seen Sprouse before.

For medical reasons, Ivan said he can’t work right now. The married couple shared they were a month behind on the rent ($1,000), but had a verbal agreement with their landlord that if the money wasn’t paid by August 5th, they would move out.

“Right before the fire I had a friend that was going to loan me the money, then the house got set on fire,” said Ivan.

Hanover Fire continues to investigate and is asking anyone with information to give them a call.

Sprouse has been released on bond and has an arraignment hearing scheduled for next week on October 27.
The Tinsley family is now living with a family member until they can get back on their feet.

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