Newport News, a city in Virginia, has experienced a tragic incident as a fatal fire claimed the life of a 64-year-old man. The victim has been identified as Kenneth Vines, and this unfortunate incident marks the first fatal house fire in Newport News in over a year, according to Chief Deputy Fire Marshal John Applewhite.
The incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday when fire crews were alerted to a house fire on Hampton Avenue. While two individuals managed to escape the burning house, Vines became trapped on the second floor. The blaze was so intense that it left neighbors in shock. Renee Young, who lives next door, described the scene as a nightmare and recalls opening her window to witness the surreal sight of flames engulfing the roof.
Fire officials informed News 3’s John Hood that the staircase had collapsed, forcing firefighters to use ladders to reach Vines. Despite their efforts to rescue him, Vines ultimately succumbed to the fire. Young expressed her sorrow, describing Vines as a kind-hearted individual who would go out of his way to help others.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Applewhite believes it was accidental. Due to safety concerns, the damaged home was swiftly demolished within a day and a half. The structure had started to lean, with collapsed floors and bulging walls in the back, making it a hazard that needed immediate removal to ensure public safety.
In the aftermath of this devastating incident, Vines’ family is now left without a home and insurance. To support them during this difficult time, a family member has created a GoFundMe page, appealing for the community’s assistance.
The Newport News Fire Department is also using this opportunity to emphasize the importance of smoke alarms and home escape plans in saving lives. They offer free smoke alarms and installation to residents of Newport News, providing a crucial layer of protection for households. To request an alarm, residents can visit the official website of the Newport News Fire Department.
This tragic event has left a void in the community, with neighbors and friends mourning the loss of Kenneth Vines. As investigations into the incident continue, it serves as a reminder of the importance of fire safety and the need for vigilance to prevent such devastating incidents from occurring in the future..