Fox Gate Drive House Fire Claims 2 Lives

On January 12, a house fire on Fox Gate Drive claimed the lives of a 75-year-old woman and her 12-year-old granddaughter. Roanna Hill, a sixth grader at Ni River Middle School, went back into the burning house to save her grandmother, Carole, who was still on the second floor. Roanna’s father, Andy, ran back in to try and save his mother and daughter. Roanna and Carole were found in a bathroom on the second floor; resuscitation efforts were carried out to no avail and the two died of their injuries at a local hospital. Andy was found on the third floor and taken to a local hospital before being transported to VCU’s burn unit with severe burns.


The fire was started in the first floor living room by Roanna’s six-year-old brother who was playing with fire starting materials. The fire quickly spread throughout the house. A call was made at approximately 5:00 PM and the first units arrived at 5:06 PM. Almost 60 career and volunteer firefighters were on the scene and had the fire under control within an hour. Because the neighborhood runs on well-water, tanker trucks had to keep switching out and making runs to the 7-11 down the street.


Riverbend students who live in the neighborhood described the scene as chaotic. Junior Addison Wasuita said, “The entire road was lined with firetrucks, and maybe three or four ambulances. There was a stretcher with five to ten firemen around it. All the windows were blacked out and broken in, and there was just so much smoke.” Junior Brandon McCall said his parents were on their way home from dinner and weren’t allowed to enter the neighborhood. Junior Matthew Absher said he came home around 4:30 PM and went to get the trash cans around 5:00 PM and thats when he saw clouds of smoke. Once the smell of smoke and the sound of sirens filled the air, most of the neighborhood kids went to see what was going on.


The days following news crews, investigators, and “a lot of cars not from our neighborhood showed up,” said junior Davis Boshears. The windows were boarded up but the desolate house was still standing in front- the back almost completely gone. Most RHS students said they only saw Roanna on their way to school when she was standing outside waiting for her bus; a few said she would wave to them some mornings.

Tiffany Crotty, Roanna’s aunt, set up a gofundme account in order to help with both monetary and non-monetary donations such as toys, furniture, and clothes. Tiffany has kept the community up to date on the family and Andy’s hospitalization. As of January 23, 368 donors have contributed a total of 23, 130 dollars. The family is in need of at least 250 thousand dollars for medical expenses, two funerals, and for starting their lives over from scratch. If you or someone would like to make a donation, monetary or non-monetary, visit for more information on how you can help.