A Dec. 5 house fire on Rave Rock Road in Ararat resulted in a fatality, and donations are being sought to help the survivor.
Patrick County Emergency Management Services (EMS) Coordinator Scottie Cassell said the fire call to a single-family home was received at 7:29 a.m. on Dec. 5.
“A father,” described as “an older gentleman, and his older son lived at the residence,” Cassell said.
The father perished in the blaze, Cassell said.
The son, Tim Keith, was airlifted to the North Carolina Wake Forest Burn Center.
The official cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Cassell believes it started in the area around the wood stove.
“The fire was under control within 20-30 minutes. It was just mopping up and the hitting the hotspots and all that stuff,” Cassell said. “We cleared the scene right at 1 p.m.”
But Keith needs help to rebuild his life and help pay for medical expenses, according to the donation site.
Organizers Angela Keith and Brian Byrd wrote that Keith lost his “father, dogs and every single belonging he had” in the blaze as well as “suffered severe burns to his body and is in rough shape.”
They also noted that Keith had cared for his mother before her death, and was providing care to his live-in father at the time of the incident.
Keith, they wrote, would help “anyone he could,” and now needs help and “many prayers. It makes it tough this time of year and everyone (is) so strapped, but if you could find It in your heart to give” a gift of any size, “it will be greatly appreciated.”
Cassell said local crews responding to the scene included the Ararat Volunteer Fire Department, Stuart Volunteer Fire Department, CCDF Volunteer Fire Department, Meadows of Dan Volunteer Fire Department, Patrick Springs Volunteer Fire Department, and Ararat Volunteer Rescue Squad.
The Four Way Volunteer Fire Department and Laurel Fork Volunteer Fire Department responded from North Carolina, he said, and estimated 40 people responded to the fire.
Cassell does not believe a smoke detector was installed in the home.
“The smoke detector is there to alert people of heat and fire in the homes. It could have made a difference, or at least it could have given them a little more time to get out,” he said.
A GoFundMe was created to help the surviving family members. As of Dec. 8, 14 donations resulted in $735 raised of the $25,000 goal. Donations can be made by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/f/f645s2-help-a-great-man ?member=22551385&sharetype=teams&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.