NOTTOWAY COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Father’s Day ended in tragedy for a Blackstone family after a house fire claimed the life of their two-year-old son.
Fire crews responded to the home along Luke Street just after noon on Sunday, June 19. Video obtained by WFXR’s sister station, WRIC, shows heavy smoke and flames shooting from the roof as firefighters entered the home.
Justice Fowlkes, who lives two doors from the house, said that the father, Kenny Short, ran outside, yelling for help.
“I asked did your kids get out and he said no. So, we ran in there trying to get as far as we could,” Fowlkes said. “Everyone started trying to get in through the window. We started reaching around, calling for the little boy.”
“I tried to scream,” he added. “Smoke was getting in my mouth. It was just too much.”
Short and his four-year-old son got out of the home safely; however, two-year-old Cage Pearce died in the home.
Jessica Kidd, a family friend, says Cage had been hiding under the bed.
“Everybody is in grief over this and in shock,” Kidd said. “Nobody wants or expects something like this to happen.”
Kidd says she’s known Cage since he was a baby — describing him as an “adventurous little boy” and a “wise soul.”
“He had the prettiest blue eyes and blonde hair. Just an adorable little child,” she said. “He wanted to do what his dad did with the drums. He was a good baby.”
A memorial filled with flowers, candles and toys formed outside of the window where Cage died. On Tuesday, June 21, WFXR’s sister station witnessed as dozens of community members stopped by to pay their respects.
Kidd says this Father’s Day was supposed to be a celebration, but it will now forever be marked by tragedy for this family.
“He lost everything, but none of that even matters because he can’t bring Cage back. He’s hurt, he’s angry at himself, he’s devastated,” she said. “The baby is with his Heavenly Father on Father’s Day but still we’re left here grieving and mourning.”
(Video courtesy: Jessica Kidd)
The Blackstone Fire Department released a statement on Facebook extending their condolences.
“As an organization, we are deeply saddened by the loss of life that occurred yesterday afternoon at a residential structure fire on Luke Street,” the Facebook post reads. “Anytime there is a loss of life we all have extended emotions, this emotion surges when that loss of life is a child. “
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.