GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) - Fire crews in Gloucester found the bodies of three children and their grandmother after a fire destroyed a house early Wednesday morning.
The bodies of Virginia Grogan and her three grandchildren, Tommy, 7, Michael, 2, and Gabriel, 6 months, were recovered, according to a family member.
Maj. Ryan Cookson with the Gloucester County Sheriff's Office said firefighters were dispatched to the 6000 block of Summerville Drive for a report of a substantial structure fire just after 2 a.m. They were told six people were inside the home when the fire started.
Assistant Fire Chief C.W. Miller told WAVY.com crews knew three children were trapped on the second floor.
"Everything was fully involved," Miller told WAVY.com on scene. "Everybody did what they could do to try to get access to them but with the house fully involved you couldn't do a whole lot at that point. We checked every possible access we could to get to them and we just couldn't get in there."
Cookson said the children's grandmother went back inside the home to attempt to rescue them. Her body was the first to be discovered in the home.
"He was the cutest thing," neighbor Kristina Berg who fondly remembers Tommy said. "So tiny for his age. All I remember is him being so smart and he loved playing with my son and my little girl. Mrs. Grogan was the sweetest lady. She would always offer to help if we needed anything. I just can't believe this is happening."
Two other adults were transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
Neighbors told WAVY.com the children's mother escaped the flames, but the father was not home at the time. They said they saw him come home after the fire was out.
"He asked, 'What's going on?' and I'm like 'I don't know!'" neighbor Michelle Durham said. "He was on the phone and took off running. He ran down the driveway and when he got there, you just heard screaming."
Durham's daughter also heard the yells of the children's mother.
"She said 'I don't want to leave! I don't want to leave! I'm not going. You cant take me,'" Montanna Durham said. "Then they took her out on a stretcher and put her in the ambulance."
The American Red Cross is assisting the family, offering food, shelter and counseling, as needed.
"For both of you to live and lose all three children, the pain, the heartbreak is unimaginable." Michelle Durham said. "There are no words."
The cause remains under investigation, but fire officials say the fire appeared to be electrical and possibly started near a space heater.
No foul play is suspected and preliminary investigation suggests the fire was accidental.
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