PAGE COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- UPDATE (April 24, 8:55 p.m.) :
Page County Sheriff Chad Cubbage released the following statement:
The investigation continues into the origin and cause of the fatal fire that destroyed a Page County home early Tuesday, April 19, 2016.
The initial 911 call came in shortly before 4 a.m. Tuesday morning when a 9-year-old male resident of the house, Andrew Holloway, escaped the blaze and rode his bike a ¼ mile to his grandparents’ home to call for help. By the time Luray fire crews arrived at the rural residence located at 509 Fort Stover Road, the house was engulfed in flames.
A family of five lived on the main floor of the one-story residence. The basement was rented to an adult male and adult female. The renters were not at home at the time of the fire.
The remains of the parents, William C. Holloway, 33, and Sandra G. Holloway, 29, were transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Manassas for examination, autopsy and positive identification. Investigators are awaiting DNA confirmation to identify the two daughters, Ava, 5, and Elizabeth, 3.
'Any fire investigation is complex in nature and requires detailed, methodical processing,' said Sheriff Cubbage. 'As soon as the fire was out and investigators could safely gain access to the debris, this investigation was well underway. And, within those first few days of evidence collection and interviews being conducted, I recognized the need to bring in additional resources that specialize in fire investigations of this nature.'
Investigators from the Page County Sheriff’s Office, Luray Fire Department, Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office, Rockingham County Fire Marshal’s Office, Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office, Shenandoah County Fire Marshal’s Office, Frederick County Fire Marshal’s Office, Virginia State Police, FBI Richmond Field Office, and ATF Washington Field Division have spent the past six days sifting through the charred debris of the more than 2,000 square foot home.
In addition, since Tuesday K-9 teams, Search and Recovery Team divers, Fairfax County Aviation, and state troopers have conducted grid searches of the immediate vicinity of the residence for evidentiary purposes.
'I appreciate the public’s patience as this investigation continues to develop,' said Sheriff Cubbage. 'Our hearts and prayers go out to the Gibson and Holloway families during this difficult time, as these deaths have impacted our entire community.'
The investigation remains ongoing.
The Page County Sheriff’s Office is asking for anyone with information concerning the fire to please contact us at (540) 743-6571
UPDATE (April 24, 7:15 p.m.) :
Sunday, the Virginia State Police (VSP) invited news media to the property for an open-air briefing. WHSV's Janson Silvers went there to get answers. We'll be posting his observations here as the event unfolds.
Starting at 7 p.m. Sunday, Page County Sheriff Chad Cubbage discussed the fatal house fire where deputies along with the FBI, Virginia State Police, and the ATF have been investigating the scene. Over the past few days, more than a dozen agents from multiple agencies have been searching the rubble --sometimes even sifting fire debris through sieves to find any previously-overlooked clues.
According to the sheriff:
~A family of five lived on the main floor: husband, Wife, and three children (ages 3-9).
~Two people rented the basement; they were not home at the time of the fire.
~ Andrew Holloway (9 year old son) rode his bike to grandparents to call 911.
~ VSP, ATF, and FBI all helped on the investigation.
~ Investigators spent six days sifting through rubble and are still determining cause.
~ Still not releasing that information yet.
~There are two confirmed deaths.
~William Holloway, 33, and Sandra Holloway, 29, died.
~Authorities are still waiting for DNA data for two daughters.
~Among the investigating agencies: Luray Fire Dept., Rockingham County Sheriff's Office, Rockingham County Fire Marshall's office, Frederick County Fire Marshall's Office, Shenandoah County Fire Marshall's Office, Fairfax County Police Dept. Aviation Unit, VSP, ATF Washington Field Div., FBI Richmond Div.
We will post our video after the News at 11.
ORIGINAL STORY (April 23):
More than a dozen agents from three different agencies were working hard to find out more about a house fire that happened earlier this week --a fire that family members tell us was fatal.
According to Dick Bonnet, four of his family members died in the fire, including a mother, father, and two young girls.
A law enforcement source tells WHSV these responders are still looking for at least one body within the ruins of the home.
The Page County Sheriff's Office did not confirm whether that's why they are at the site on Saturday, April 23.
We spoke with Dick Bonnet last week when he got the news. "(It was) almost beyond comprehension; it is almost beyond words," said Bonnet. "We'll all get through it, but I just wish I was there to hug my sister." Bonnet's sister is the grandmother of the two young girls who Bonnet says died.
The FBI, Virginia State Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined Page County deputies in this investigation.
I spoke with the sheriff's office earlier and they confirmed they are still investigating and are working to identify the victims but, again, they will not answer whether they've recovered all of the bodies, and have not officially declared this a fatal fire, nor have they released the cause.
The family was the one to reach out to us and let us know about the deaths.
I also spoke with the grandmother of those two little girls and the young boy who escaped the fire. She said their family has been overwhelmed with community support and she wants to send her thanks to everyone. She also said the youngest boy is doing as well as you could expect.