Three found dead after house fire

Published 7:58 pm Monday, September 16, 2019

A mother, father and their 10-year-old son were found deceased Monday morning after a fire destroyed their Buckingham home.

Virginia State Police Public Relations Director Corrine Geller stated in a press release, “The Buckingham County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call at 4:54 a.m. about a house fire in the 20300 block of James Anderson Highway/Route 60.”

Geller went on to say, “Volunteer fire departments from Dillwyn, Buckingham, Toga and Arvonia responded to the scene. The house was engulfed in flames when the first fire crews arrived on scene. Once the blaze was extinguished, fire officials found three deceased individuals inside the residence.”

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According to Derek Tucker, who identified himself as the son-in-law of the home’s occupants, victims included Earl Booker, 57, Collette Booker, 46 and their 10-year-old son Nayquaris.

Lewis Booker, who identified himself as a cousin of the victims, had driven by the scene earlier in the morning before the fire broke out. “This morning, everything was fine. Not a soul. Nobody. Nothing. The house was in perfect shape,” Booker said.

“About 5 a.m., 5:15 a.m., that’s when we got the call saying the house was on fire. My fiancée was going to work. She called me back and said, ‘I’ve seen a lot of fire trucks going through 60. I’m thinking there’s probably been an accident.’ After I talked to her she went to work and that’s when I got the phone call 10 minutes later,” Booker said.

The fire consumed most of the residence and left the home’s roof partially collapsed.

According to Geller, “At this time, state police fire investigators, with the assistance of the Buckingham County Sheriff’s Office, are still combing through the burnt debris for evidence to help them determine if the fire was accidental or suspicious in nature.”

The tragedy left the community of neighbors and family members grief-stricken and confused. An autopsy is still underway.

“As far as what happened, we don’t know anything right now, besides that the house caught on fire and they died in the house,” Tucker explained.