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Two children die in morning fire on Cherry Valley Drive

Two children — an 8-year-old and a 12-year-old — died in a fire Wednesday morning on Cherry Valley Drive, according to City of LaGrange Communications Director Katie Van Schoor.

The fire was called in at 4:08 a.m., and police and fire arrived at 4:14 a.m.

The Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King announced that 12-year-old Desmond Chester and 8-year-old William Chester were killed in the fire, and 38-year-old Lynette Chester remains in critical condition at Grady Memorial Hospital. Jason Holmes, 40, also lived in the home but did not sustain any injuries.

State investigators ruled this fire to be accidental, according to a press release from the City of LaGrange.   

According to Austin Gibbons, Special Assistant to the Commissioner, upon arriving at the scene, the LaGrange Police Department and LaGrange Fire Department discovered that the mobile home, which was built in the 1970s, had been engulfed in flames.

Local officials found the body of one of the children in the kitchen and another in a back bedroom.

“Any loss of life due to a Georgia fire is hard, but the loss of two children is even harder,” said Commissioner King in a press release. “As a husband and father, I am keeping this family and their loved ones in my prayers throughout the coming days. I know my staff will be doing the same.” 

The father of the children, Jason Holmes, spoke to The LaGrange Daily News and said his wife is at Grady Hospital.

Holmes said as of Tuesday morning that he has been unable to talk to her.

Jason said one his sons, Desmond, was probably in the living room, and his other son, William, was probably in his room at the time of the fire.

He said he remembers getting up about 3:30 a.m.

“We opened the bedroom door, and there was nothing but flame and smoke,” Jason said. “I couldn’t make it through the living room at all. We had to break out our back window to get out of the house, and we came and broke open the front door here. At that time, I came out screaming and yelling and pounding on neighbor’s doors saying ‘Call 911, there’s a fire.’ I got up on the hood of our Jeep and was trying to put the air conditioner into the window so they could breathe and I couldn’t, and that’s when everybody finally got here.”

Jason said all he can do is wait right now, as he waits to hear more about his wife’s condition.

“We don’t know her condition. As far as we know, she was unresponsive,” Jason said.

Jason said the family could use clothes right now.

He wears an extra-large shirt, pants are 38 in the waist and 30 length and 10.5 in shoes.

Donations can be dropped off at the LDN office.

Holmes’ employers at Karvelas Pizza Company has set up a GoFundMe account at https://gf.me/u/y6pck4.

“Jason is in need of many things.  Obviously, he lost his home and all personal belongings,” the GoFundMe page said.

“There will be funeral expenses and hospital expenses associated with his wife’s condition.  Although this is a tragic situation, we can offer Jason support through community assistance.”

Commissioner King’s State Fire Investigations Unit will continue investigating this fire alongside LaGrange officials and provide any updates to the press and the public as they become available.