Mother and son die after large house fire; frayed extension cord blamed for fire

PORTSMOUTH, Va. —A mother and son are dead after a large fire at their Portsmouth home.

Firefighters were called to the home on Atlanta Avenue around 4 a.m. Wednesday. When they arrived, they found the two story home engulfed, with heavy fire extending from the front porch area.

According to firefighters 71-year-old Sandra Bracy and 24-year-old Jarrod Bracy were trapped inside the home and unable to get out.

"It’s very upsetting because Sandra she wasn’t getting around very good here lately," neighbor Pamela Anstead shared with News 3.

"It’s just heartbreaking, he was such a good boy. He was such a good boy," she continued through tears.

Firefighters dealt with difficult conditions, including zero visibility, extreme heat, and a large amount of belongings inside the home while trying to reach the victims.

One of the victims was found on the first floor, while the other was rescued from a second floor window onto a ladder.

Both were in cardiac arrest when they were removed from the home and taken to the hospital where they were pronounced dead.

A firefighter was treated for dehydration and exhaustion at the scene and was not taken to the hospital.

The victims' bodies have been sent to the medical examiner to determine the cause of death.

After an investigation firefighters found that a frayed extension cord underneath combustible clothing produced enough heat to ignite the materials.

The home did not have smoke alarms and officials want to remind everyone that the alarms can save lives. They can be installed for free by firefighters.

Additionally, the Fire Department provides Home Safety Surveys to discuss fire safety in and around the home, in hopes to prevent future fires.

You can contact the Portsmouth Fire Marshal’s Office at 393-8689 for information regarding these fire prevention programs.

Stay with News 3 as more details become available.