LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Fire crews are investigating a rash of fires in the Hill City, all happening in the past 36 hours.
The first fire sparked early morning on May 30 on Memorial Avenue. There were two more late Tuesday night, one on Stafford Street, the other on Coronado Lane. Wednesday afternoon marked another fire on Pierce Street, which displaced two families.
WFXR spoke with residents about this string of fires. Reggie Odrick grew up in the Stafford Street home that was destroyed. He said seeing his childhood home go up in flames was a surreal experience.
“All the smoke coming out, I knew everything was done. So, I knew there was nothing left. I knew there was some keepsakes in the house, so I knew they were probably gone,” said Odrick.
Odrick said his father still lived there at the time of the fire. Luckily, he was not seriously injured. He said he was in shock when a neighbor face-timed him and showed him what was happening to the place he once called home.
“Just the memories here, to see it all just fried,” said Odrick.
About an hour after the Stafford Street house fire, crews responded to the 1000 block of Coronado Lane for another house fire.
WFXR spoke with the owner of that home earlier who asked to not go on camera, he said his grandchildren were the first to notice the smell of smoke. He said at first, he thought it was just food burning, and before he knew it, the fire had filled part of his home.
Lynchburg Fire Marshal, Thomas Goode, said the fires are not related. The fact that they happened in such a short time is just a coincidence. Still, the department is stepping in to make fire safety accessible.
“We can actually set up an appointment to come and install free smoke alarms, it’s grant given,” said Goode.
He shared a few things to keep in mind to stay fire safe.
“Try not to overload your electrical sockets or outlets. Make sure you know you keep your personal belongings to a minimum on the inside, you don’t want to start cooking and then go into the other room because 9 times out of 10 you’ll forget,” said Goode.
He said when it comes to house fires, early detection saves lives.
As for the two other homes that caught fire, one person was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene on Memorial Avenue but is not seriously hurt. No one was reported injured in the Pierce Street fire.
The Fire Marshal added that some of these homes did have smoke alarms, which he says may have aided in people getting out safely.
If you are in Lynchburg and are in need of a smoke detector, Goode said to contact the Lynchburg Fire Department to set up a time to have one installed free of charge.
He added that even if you are not in the Hill City, most fire departments offer free smoke detector installation. He recommends you reach out to your local department.