The Augusta County community of Dooms is mourning the loss of a young boy, who was unable to escape from his burning home. In the meantime, investigators are getting much closer to learning the cause of Sunday's tragic blaze.
Monday, state police identified the victim as 11-year-old Dustyn R. Fitzgerald, a sixth-grade student at Wilson Middle School. His principal describes Dustyn as an energetic child with a "generous spirit." The school offered counselors for teachers and fellow students grieving the loss.
The boy's grandmother placed a favorite stuffed bear in front of the destroyed home Monday. She told NBC29 her grandson was a constantly smiling, happy-go-lucky kid who loved going to school.
Fire broke out in the family's home on Dooms Crossing Road at about 8:00 Sunday morning. Dustyn's parents escaped with his 5-year-old brother, but couldn't reach his bedroom on the second floor.
"The father grabbed a hose and was attempting to put the fire out, and it started to get out of control," said Augusta County Fire & Rescue Chief Carson Holloway. "He went to the steps and attempted to go upstairs to alert the other son. Smoke overcame him."
Chief Holloway says the fire started in the younger child's first-floor bedroom. An electric baseboard heater is among only a couple of possible causes that state police are still considering.
The chief says the home - owned by Michael and Michelle Gibson - was equipped with a smoke detector, but investigators aren't sure whether it worked properly. The 5-year-old was the first to alert his parents to the fire in his room.