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House fire on Chery Avenue claims second victim

A second person has died after being injured in a Wednesday morning fire at a Cherry Avenue home and another is being treated at a local hospital, according to Charlottesville Fire Department officials.

Fire Chief Hezedean Smith announced the second death Thursday. He said the names of the victims were not being made public at this time.

“A total of three people were injured during the fire at a house on the 1000 block of Cherry Avenue. The first victim died shortly after arriving at [the University of Virginia Medical Center]. A third person remains hospitalized,” a statement from the city said.

City firefighters were called to the Cherry Avenue home in the early hours of Wednesday, arriving from the nearby Ridge Street fire station in about four minutes, officials said. Firefighters first on the scene found heavy smoke and flames coming from the home.

Two of the home’s occupants had escaped the burning building, but a third was trapped inside officials said.

“Firefighters worked quickly and entered the burning building, removing one trapped occupant,” a Wednesday statement for the city said. “That occupant, and two others who escaped the building, were immediately transported to the UVa Medical Center by both the Charlottesville Fire Department and the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad.”

One occupant died shortly after arriving at the hospital. Officials did not say when the second occupant died.

The two-story home exhibits signs of extensive fire damage on the first floor and smoke and fire damage to the second floor. Investigators with the city fire marshal’s office are trying to determine where the fire started and its cause, Smith said.

“Fires generally spread quickly,” Smith said in an email. “Working smoke detectors and [carbon monoxide] detectors serve as early warning for occupants.”

Smith said the fire department visited the neighborhood Wednesday after the fire was out to offer smoke detectors for neighbors.

“We initiated a smoke detector installation blitz yesterday in the neighborhood perimeter where the fire occurred,” Smith said. “Door hangers would have been left on the door with a QR code for our residents to request smoke detectors.”


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