Grandmother, three children die in Gloucester house fire

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by 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 12:21 AM

GLOUCESTER - A woman and her three grandchildren died when fire swept through their Gloucester home early Wednesday. 

According to family members, Virginia Grogan escaped the fire but re-entered the burning house to try to save her grandchildren.

Crews found their bodies in the debris of the Summerville Drive home. The children were ages 7, 2 and 6 months. 

Authorities are waiting for results from the medical examiner before they identify the victims.

Firefighters who got to the scene around 3:00 a.m. said it was engulfed in flames.

Michelle Durham lives nearby and said she heard what sounded like an explosion.

"A couple of big booms and then it just engulfed," she recalled. "It went up so fast."

According to Fire Chief J.D. Clements, the children's mother and grandfather escaped the fire and are being treated for injuries that aren't life threatening.

The mother's condition is fair and the grandfather is in serious condition,  according to Sentara Hospital spokeswoman Amy Sandoval.   She added that the grandfather suffered a broken arm in addition to other injures.

Montanna Durham said the children's father arrived from work, but there was nothing he could do because of the intensity of the fire. Their mother, Durham added, was distraught.

"She was like 'I don't want to leave, I don't want to leave, you can't take me.' And then they took her out on a stretcher and put her in an ambulance," she said.

Chief Clements says the fire started in the family room and believes it may have started because of an electrical issue.  He believes it will be ruled accidental but the fire still remains under investigation.

The American Red Cross Coastal Virginia says its disaster team provided immediate lodging for three nights for three adults, along with food, clothing and shoes.

"We will continue to work with this family to include mental health services to help deal with the tragic loss of life and long term recovery plans," said spokeswoman Jennifer Frank.

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