Couple, 4 dogs killed in Chesapeake house fire blamed on electrical wiring


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Two people who neighbors say were husband and wife and their four dogs died after a Chesapeake house was destroyed in an early-morning fire.

Officials with the Chesapeake Fire Department said firefighters were called to a home in the 1000 block of Baugher Avenue around 5:30 a.m. — which is near the interchange of S. Military Highway (U.S. 460) and George Washington Memorial Highway N. (U.S. 17).

VIDEO: Flames visible at Chesapeake house

Responding units reportedly found heavy smoke and flames visible on arrival. Firefighters were told by a neighbor that two people were believed to be in the home.

Officials said firefighters entered the home through a bedroom window and found two adults, later identified as Karen Simmons, 67, and Rodney Simmons, 66, unconscious. 

Paramedics treated both on scene before taking them to Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, where they later died.

VIDEO: Chopper 10 above house fire in Chesapeake

Officials said the couple’s four dogs were also found dead inside the home.

There were reports of an explosion, but officials determined the fire was caused by improperly installed electrical wiring. It’s being called an accident at this time. 

“I’d do anything for them,” said neighbor David Parrish. “They were great people. I heard an explosion and I thought our backyard was on fire … I saw the back of their house just engulfed in flames.” 

“I was looking at the flames about 25 feet in the air,” said neighbor Doug White. “The firetrucks just kept coming there was like nine or 10 out here.”

“We tried to access into the front of the house, but the heat and you just started hearing the pop-pop and the bang bang,” Parrish added. “It was horrifying knowing the fact that there was people in that house.”

A short time later, neighbors got the devastating news. the couple had passed away.

Neighbors say the Simmons were longtime residents and the couple kept to themselves. Karen didn’t come out much and Rodney was known for tinkering on his car or motorcycle.

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