Family remembers South Norfolk man killed in fire


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A trail of cigarettes leads to a home that was swallowed by flames last week off Ardmore Avenue in Chesapeake.

“She said the smoke was so thick she couldn’t see anything, and she fell and tripped. She kept yelling for Justin to get out of the house, the house is on fire, and she said she heard him yell ‘The house is on fire’ and she made her way to the door and slung it open and started screaming for help,” said Alyssa Peirson.

If you ask her, the fire left behind nothing but ashes and pain. Now she’s left picking up the pieces.

“Even being back home and he’s not here, it’s not right,” Alyssa Peirson said with tears in her eyes.

Fire crews say they found Alyssa Peirson’s brother, 35-year-old Justin Peirson, unconscious and not breathing. The woman who made it out was their mother.

“The guy from down the street came and picked her up and drug her across the street. He was going to go back in for him, but the fire started spreading to the front room,” said Alyssa Peirson.

She says by the time firefighters got to her brother, too much damage was done.

While heartbroken, she feels grateful to the brave young man who went into the smoke to get her mother. All she knows about him is his name: Trent.

“The guy Trent is a hero. I could’ve lost both of them and right now what’s really keeping me pushing is I have to take care of her for now,” she said, referring to her mother.

Alyssa Peirson says family and friends will always remember Justin Peirson as the life of the party and someone who would help anyone in any way he could.

As she sifted through the ash, she managed to salvage a baby picture of Justin, flashing the same smile he always wore.

“I hope he can hear me. I hope he knows how loved he was by everybody,” Alyssa Peirson said.

A life snatched by accident. Officials say the fire started in a front bedroom caused by careless disposal of cigarettes near combustibles. She says her brother was a smoker and they’d begged him to stop.

“My mom, I know she did, she kept telling him but can’t make him do anything he didn’t want to do. He was hardheaded,” Alyssa Peirson explained.

Hardheaded, but also big-hearted, with a light so bright, even a fire couldn’t put it out, his family said.

If you’re interested in donating to the family, click here for their GoFundMe page.

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