HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A family is still coming to terms with a house fire in Henrico County that killed two family members and led to the arrest of another.
According to Henrico County Police Division, fire crews were called to a house on the 1800 block of Elkridge Lane at around 2:21 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15 for a report of a fire.
Three people were inside the home at the time of the fire. 61-year-old Gail Katrina Thompson was pronounced dead at the scene and 89-year-old Florence Thomson was pronounced dead at a hospital. The third person was taken to a hospital for evaluation.
“I would probably say this one of the biggest tragedies in all of our lifetimes, maybe in all of our family history,” said Anthony Thompson, Florence’s grandson and Gail’s nephew.
The family told 8News that yesterday would have been Florence’s birthday.
“At first I didn’t want to believe it,” he said. “As I was talking to my friend from high school I looked on the internet, on the news website, sorry and I saw my grandmother’s house in that picture. It was heartbreaking.”
It was only days later Anthony says he learned the news that his own cousin, Elton Thompson had been charged with second-degree murder in connection to the fire.
“I would say the best word to describe that is, ‘disappointment.’ Within our family — and even outside of our family — we never look to hurt anyone. We just look to embrace them, to love them, to take care of them,” Anthony said. “The first word that came to my mind is just ‘disappointment’ and I’ll leave it at that.”
Elton Thompson was last reported to be in the custody of the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina after having been charged with breaking and entering into a commercial business. Detectives with the Henrico County Police Division went to interview him about the fire and charged him with second-degree murder and grand larceny of a vehicle in connection to the incident.
In spite of these tough times, Anthony says his grandmother would want the family to stick together.
“My grandmother took me in when I was about 12 years old and without her, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said. “Helped me try to do college work even though she didn’t know what she was looking at.”
The Thompson family is still in the process of planning a funeral for their loved ones. The Henrico County Police Division and the Fire Marshal’s Office are both continuing to investigate the incident.