Fire destroys Nelson County volunteer firefighter’s home

It took nearly 12 hours to get the blaze under control

It took 12 hours to put the fire out.

NELSON COUNTY, Va. – What was a three-story house on Ponton Lane is now a pile of debris.

For 17-year-old Travis Burley, a firefighter with the Lovingston Volunteer Fire Department, it wasn’t an ordinary call -- He was responding to his own home.

“It was pretty much over and done with by the time we got there. There was nothing to it. We couldn’t do anything for it,” said Burley.

Fire officials said the call came in around 6 p.m. Saturday and it took nearly 12 hours to get the fire under control.

Jeremy Mays, Travis’ stepfather, told 10 News it started from the woodstove as he tried to keep his family warm on a freezing night.

“When I opened both doors on the woodstove, a backdraft of flames hit me in the chest, knocked me on the floor. Then when I looked up, the whole ceiling was engulfed in flames,” recalled Mays.

Luckily everyone made it out safely, but Travis said it was difficult putting out his own home.

“It was hard seeing the house that I was raised in catch on fire like that,” said Burley.

He and four family members are staying at an apartment.

The community started a GoFundMe campaign to help the family.

They’re overwhelmed by the support.

“I really appreciate it. It means a whole lot to me, especially with the other departments and the people in this community,” said Burley.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.