‘It’s heartbreaking’: Hopewell man trapped in house fire dies at hospital

The Tri-Cities

HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — A 55-year-old man who was trapped in an overnight house fire died at VCU Medical Center.

It happened on North 4th Avenue shortly before midnight. A neighbor tells 8News that an older man, who has been identified as 55-year-old Bobby Joe Hagee, was inside the home with his son.

The neighbor says the son got out, and then he ran back inside to try to rescue his father. Firefighters eventually got the man out and rushed him to VCU Medical Center.

His family was too distraught to go on camera, but says a cigarette was left on the porch, sparking the fire.

One of his family members told 8News the man suffered burns to over 95 percent of his body. They say the family has been in the home since the 1970s.

“I’m really upset right now because, uh, I just left the hospital,” one of Hagee’s friends, Wilma Gibson, said. “Unfortunately, he didn’t make it. So we lost a family member and everyone’s upset about that.

“It’s really heartbreaking right now for me.” — Wilma Gibson

The family returned to the burned home to collect anything that may have survived the blaze. They found an old shotgun that belonged to Hagee, but nearly everything else was destroyed.

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