GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) - A Gloucester mother who lost her three children and mother-in-law in a house fire spoke exclusively to 10 On Your Side.
A house fire likely caused by a space heater in the early morning hours of Jan. 16 killed Jessica Grogan's three young boys, Tommy, 7, Michael, 2, and Gabriel, 6 months, as well as Virginia Grogan, the boys' grandmother.
"I saw the smoke and I could hear the crackling of the fire downstairs," Jessica Grogan told WAVY.com. "I looked down the stairs to see if we could get out."
Grogan was trapped on the home's second floor with her in-laws and children.
"My next instinct was to wake up my oldest," Grogan said. "I shut the door keep the smoke out and that's when the power went out."
"It felt like forever," she remembered. "It was very scary. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't catch my breath. I remember throwing up and I remember my body shutting down."
The room was quickly filling up with smoke.
"I had made my decision. If I was going to go, it was going to be with the boys," Grogan said.
Grogan said she then shut her eyes and blacked out again. When she came to, she was standing on the roof with her in-laws and her children were still inside. She feared the worst.
"I already knew after I was on the overhang that they weren't [coming out]," Grogan said. "I didn't hear any coughing or any screaming for mom."
Virginia Grogan crawled back inside the home through a window in a last-ditch attempt to save three young lives.
"They're never going to be here again," Grogan said. "I know they will never see disease. They'll never get sick. They'll never get old. They will never see mom and dad go first."
The horrifying moments continue to replay in the Jessica's head.
"I have my days," she said. "Some days are better than others."
Grogan wanted to send a message to parents. She can't stress enough how important it is to come up with a fire safety plan at home and then to practice that plan over and over again. She said you never know when you'll need it.
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