HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — A fire in Hopewell late Thursday night took the life of an elderly man and his four dogs.
Hopewell Fire Chief Donald Hunter said crews responded to a home on S. 9th Avenue around 10:30 p.m. Prince George Fire and EMS and Fort Lee Fire crews were also called to assist.
When crews arrived, they found heavy fire coming from the front door and several windows, Hunter said. Once inside the home, crews had to battle “extreme heat” and smoke conditions.
Hunter said the man “succumbed to the fire conditions” before crews arrived and removed him from the home.
Neighbors told 8News they heard what sounded like explosions and then tried to rush into the house to help the elderly man, but the flames were too strong.
One neighbor said his head was burned in the attempt to save the man and his animals.
Neighbors believe the man’s oxygen tanks exploded. Hunter confirmed there were oxygen tanks in the home, but couldn’t confirm the tanks were the cause of the fire.
One neighbor told 8News the man is in his 70’s and is a Vietnam veteran. He lived at the home with his wife, who was at work at the time of the fire.
“She’s heartbroken right now — she’s in pretty rough shape,” Tanya James, a family friend, said. “She has her faith in God and she’ll take it one day at a time.”
Stay with 8News for updates on this developing story.