Family of 10 without a home after South Richmond apartment fire

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A family of 10 is without a home after a Monday morning fire at an apartment complex on Richmond’s southside.

Richmond Fire responded to the home on the 2200 block of Afton Avenue shortly after 9 a.m. and found heavy smoke coming from one of the units.

The Red Cross also responded to assist the family — a couple and their eight children, ages 6 to 18.

”We lost everything. We lost everything from kids’ clothes to furniture, basically everything,” said Rudolph Phelps, “Whatever I have in the trunk of my car, that’s all we got.”

Phelps said he and his wife were not home at the time and their children were at school. 

His oldest son, 18-year-old Miles Jackson, was the only one home when the fire broke out. He was asleep and woke up to the flames. He escaped with minor burns on his hand. 

“As long as everybody got out, a little burnt, hand, hey, he still got his life,” said Phelps. 

The family believes the cause of the fire was a stove they’ve been having issues with. 

Phelps said it is a difficult loss with the holidays just around the corner. 

“Just getting past thanksgiving, Christmas here… all the Christmas presents we had wrapped under the tree, destroyed,” he said. 

A positive outlook is carrying the family through. 

“A lot of people say, ‘Man, you got a big smile on your face,’ I said, ‘Because I’m covered by the good man upstairs so this right here, my family, we’ve been through worse. So this right here, this is a band-aid we patch up and keep on moving’,” said Phelps. 

Red Cross Virginia is helping the family find a place to stay for the next few days. They are also providing the family with resources and connecting them to other agencies. 

Richmond Redevelopment is trying to find the family a new place to live. 

If you want to help or donate to the family, you can call the Red Cross at 804-780-2250. 

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