One man dead, two homes damaged in early morning fire

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Suffolk Fire and Rescue found a man dead in his home during an early morning fire on North Division Street, between East Washington Street and Railroad Avenue.

City spokeswoman Diana Klink identified the man as Joseph Booth, 47, and said he lived alone at the home.

Klink said the fire marshal has ruled the fire accidental.

“I was praying on the way here that he wasn’t in the house,” said JoQuanna Booth, the victim’s daughter.

Booth said a family member woke her up around 4 a.m. Sunday to tell her her father’s house was on fire. Booth and her mother raced to North Division Street.

“I saw the ambulance and all the fire trucks and all the people, and I definitely knew that it was true,” said Booth while standing in front of her father’s house Sunday afternoon. She and others spent the whole day searching through the rubble for his belongings that could be salvaged.

The call came in at 3:35 a.m. Sunday. Less than five minutes later, firefighters arrived to find heavy fire at the back of the house, and explosions from a gas grill propane tank and motor bike.

A ladder crew attacked the fire from the back of the house while another crew entered the first floor and found heavy fire. They did not find anyone. When they made their way to the second floor, firefighters found more heavy fire and Booth’s body.

The intense flames also caused major damage at another home on North Division Street, displacing two adults. Morris Carr lives next door with his son. He said he has fire damage to his second level. Plus, firefighters knocked out his windows to put out the flames.

Carr said Booth was a loving neighbor who was always willing to help someone out.

“I can feel their grief,” said Carr. “And my heart goes out for them.”

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