WJTV News Channel 12 - Two-year-old killed, 25 displaced following Marion fire

Two-year-old killed, 25 displaced following Marion apartment fire

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This is a photo of the family who lived in the apartment where the fire started. Neighbors say the child on the right is the little girl, Abigail, who died in the fire Tuesday. This is a photo of the family who lived in the apartment where the fire started. Neighbors say the child on the right is the little girl, Abigail, who died in the fire Tuesday.

A four-alarm fire at Country Club Crossing Apartments in Marion, VA claimed the life of a 2-year-old baby girl and hospitalized her mother.

Ken Heath with the Marion Volunteer Fire Department told News Channel 11 a toddler named Abigail died at the scene. Her mother, Elizabeth LaSueur - badly burned - was taken to Smyth County Community Hospital. She waas later flown to Johnson City Medical Center. She is said ti be in stable condition. 

Fire crews say the fire tore through the roof of the apartment and quickly spread to surrounding buildings.

The Marion Volunteer Fire Department was called to Marion Manor Drive around 10:30 Tuesday morning. Firefighters observed heavy smoke and flames coming from an upper right apartment, and made entry.  

Fire officials are calling this a tragic situation all the way around.  News Channel 11 spoke with the family who lived below the apartment where the fire broke out. They said they did everything to try and save the little girl who lived above them. 

Those who lived in the Country Club Crossing Apartment Complex say you could only hear one thing, "I heard everybody screaming. Everybody just started screaming," said Jessica Perkins who lives below. 

Perkins says that's when she realized why everyone was screaming – fire. She ran to wake up her roommate Alicia Roberts.

When Alicia woke up –all she saw was smoke.

"It was like a fog going by, but it was smoke," said Roberts.  Roberts says when she saw flames, she immediately thought about the children who lived above her.

"I tried to get in, but once I tried to get in an open the door -- everything went up in flames and the windows busted out." 

Alicia and Jessica said they had to get out - before they couldn't.

Outside, they found the woman who lives upstairs, who they call "Rebecca", badly burned and holding on to her son. But the woman's 2-year-old daughter, Abigail, was nowhere to be found. 

Jessica and Alicia say they can get everything they lost back, but their heart aches for their neighbor Rebecca who lost her child. "She's not coming back." 

Fire officials say they had to turn water off to the surrounding area in order to focus water supply on the hydrants used to put out the fire. 

Heath says it took some time to put the fire out. It was a "very difficult fire because of the nature of the fire. It extended into several apartments and it took most of the morning to get it under control. " 

Chilhowie, Atkins, and Adwolfe fire departments responded with personnel and equipment, and crews battled the blaze for over two hours before getting it under control.  

The American Red Cross in Marion, VA and the fire officials say 25 people were displaced by the fire. Heath says, most likely those residents will not be able to return to their homes for some time.

Smyth County Emergency Management and the Red Cross have already set up to assist displaced families.

Meanwhile, Virginia State Police and Smyth County Sheriff's Department are investigating the fire to determine the cause.

The following is a statement from the American Red Cross in Marion, VA:

The American Red Cross is responding to a fire at Country Club Crossings apartment complex on Marion Manor Drive in Marion, VA. Ten Red Cross disaster workers are on the scene. They are helping to provide financial assistance to approximately 25 residents to help with meals, clothing and lodging, and will continue to coordinate recovery assistance.

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