Fire in Virginia leaves family of 8 without a home, Christmas gifts

By Benjamin Cox on December 12, 2018 at 11:10am

An overnight fire destroyed a home in Virginia, though thankfully no one was injured.

WLDS/WEAI News received a report this morning of a recent house fire in Virginia in the 100 block of East Sylvan Street.

It has since been determined that at around 3 am, a fire began in the attic of the affected house. Jerrica Rich and her husband Clint lived there with their six children.

Jerrica Rich says her husband was the first person to notice the fire this morning.

“At around 3 to 3:30 this morning, my husband went to get a drink of water, was coming back from the kitchen and noticed a glow that he saw in my car window. He went outside, looked up, and saw flames on the inside of the house. So he ran back inside, hollering to everyone to get the kids together and out of the house. By the time that we got all 6 kids out, two of the windows had blown out and there was fire that made its way on the outside of the house. Fortunately, with the cold weather my two sons that typically sleep in the attic were downstairs at the time of the fire.”

Rich explains how she and her husband have come to care for six children, and describes some specifics of necessities which could be of immediate assistance to the family.

“Three are biological and three are my sister’s children that we have adopted. Our three biological children are: Bradyen, 17; Hayden, 14; and Kylie, 8. Our three adopted children are Lacie, 15; Carter, 7; Chase, 4. We are in need of basically anything that people can donate. All of our beds were ruined. We need things like non-perishable food and supplies. My older boys are in desperate need of clothes: 29/32 and 32/32 for pants, as well as large shirts. Our 4-year old also lost all of his clothes, and he wears a 6T.”

According to Rich, her and her husband have prepared their six children for this possibility.

“We have been doing fire drills with our kids since they could walk. We implement the buddy system, so that each kid finds a partner and your responsibility is to get you and your partner outside and to the front of the house. It is very important that children know this, just in case. We needed to make sure that all exits were open and available. Any doors that would lock on their own we took the locks out so that kids could get in and out. All the kids did an amazing today. They all kept their composure, followed the buddy system and got out to the front and to a vehicle so that we could all get to safety.”

Rich says this fire is a good reminder for parents to teach their children about fire safety in the home.

“It’s incredibly important for children to know where they are supposed to go and what they are supposed to do in the event of a fire. You never think something like this is going to happen, but because we took the extra time and ingrained the right knowledge and procedure into our kids, everyone was out safe and that was all that mattered. Houses and belongings can be replaced, but you cannot replace a child.”

Telephone numbers for Jerrica Rich, her husband Clint Rich, and her mother-in-law Doris Fanning are attached below.

Jerrica: (217) 371-1118

Clint: (217) 371-7190

Doris: (217) 408-8116