Friends, family remember Hampton teenager killed in house fire

Cody Watts

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Family and friends of Hampton teenager, 19-year-old Cody Watts, gathered at Buckroe Beach to remember him Tuesday night. Watts was killed in a California house fire over the weekend, according to his family.

Dozens of supporters lit candles, released balloons, and spent the night sharing stories about him.

Jacob Dore said he met Watts through a mutual friend, and called him a “social butterfly.”

“He had an impact on me, how he was happy all the time. I hurt inside knowing that a great soul was lost that day,” Dore said.

Watts, grew up in Buckroe Beach and went to Phoebus High School.

“You’re never ready for your children to be buried before you,” said Watts’ mother, Melinda Coburn on Monday. “It’s just not supposed to happen like that.”

On Saturday evening, Coburn received a message from her son’s girlfriend, Brittnee, that Watts had been killed in a fire. Watts was in Alpine, near San Diego, visiting Brittnee. He had been out there for eight days when the fire happened.

Coburn said Watts was supposed to return home to Hampton on Friday, Oct. 9. That day, Coburn said her son decided to postpone his departure in order to look for a job in California near his girlfriend.

“But he said, ‘If I do not get the job, I am going to get a one way ticket and come back home.’ And that was on the 9th, and then the fire happened that night. I never got a chance to talk to him after that. That was the last time I talked to him.”’s affiliate KNSD reports the fire happened around 1:15 a.m. Saturday. The large fire spread throughout the property. According to Coburn and Watts’ other family members, Brittnee and her stepfather made it out of the house alive. Brittnee’s mother also died in the fire.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and an arson unit are still investigating and have not released what caused the fire. Coburn is sending her son’s dental records to the medical examiner for him to be identified.

“We’re really trying to just get all the answers,” said Coburn.

Coburn admits, her biggest question is why her son was not able to be woken up during the fire. Coburn was told Watts’ girlfriend yelled for him multiple times, but he didn’t wake up.

Until they have answers, Watts’ family is surrounding themselves with friends. They said Watts had two brothers, including a twin, and many friends who loved him.

“Very dedicated to his friends,” said Coburn. “He would back them up for anything they had going on in their life.”

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