Three children dead in Henrico apartment fire, man still in hospital

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Three small children are dead and a man remains hospitalized after a fire at an apartment complex in Henrico County last Friday.

When crews were dispatched to the Highland Point apartment complex off of West Nine Mile Road at roughly 3 a.m., they found smoke showing from the second-floor apartment and rescued all four people. The children, ages 1, 2 and 7-years-old, and the man were all found unresponsive and were given advanced life support. We’ve learned that all the victims are family of a Richmond Times Dispatch paper carrier named Joreatha Lewis.

Henrico Fire officials said all three children passed away on Sunday night. Their names have not been released.

All were taken to VCU Medical Center where they have been admitted to the intensive care unit.

Neighbors say the man, Shawn Ross, is the fiancee of Lewis who was at work at the time of the fire and the kids are her children. The paper released the following statement;

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this unthinkable tragedy. We stand ready to assist in any way possible.”

Henrico Fire officials reported thick smoke at the scene which reduced visibility to almost nothing. Despite this, crews were able to enter the apartment and find the victims.

The incident was marked under control within 30 minutes of crews arriving.

Image courtesy of Henrico County Fire Department

Fire officials say the fire started in the kitchen. The official cause is “unattended cooking.” The fire allowed smoke to fill the entire apartment.

Henrico County Fire officials are now saying that two other apartments were affected by smoke from the fire. Two adults, a child and a dog living in two separate apartments were displaced, at least temporarily, by smoke damage.

Henrico Fire reminds viewers and readers about the importance of sleeping with your doors closed. A closed bedroom door will help protect you from smoke for several valuable minutes.  Smoke will render a victim unconscious well before the fire reaches a bedroom, so no matter how old or young you are, always close your bedroom door when you go to bed!

Ross has worked at Richmond Bumper, an aftermarket parts company, for the past two years. They released the following statement,

They released the following statement:”Shawn is a very hard worker and just a great guy to be around. This accident has shaken us all here, we are his work family and he means a lot to us all. Shawn and his entire family are in our thoughts and prayers.”

“Shawn is a very hard worker and just a great guy to be around. This accident has shaken us all here, we are his work family and he means a lot to us all. Shawn and his entire family are in our thoughts and prayers.”

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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