July 2, 2003, is a date that will stick in the minds of all the firefighters in the City of Newport News. That is the date that two young sisters, Eimony Heyward and Montrella Brown, eight and two years old respectively, lost their lives and a third sister, Daja Brown, seven years old, was severely burned. Every firefighter/medic will agree, that emergency calls that involve children are always the worst. This fatal fire was no exception.
Shortly after midnight Station 2 received a call on the hotline for Medic 2 to respond to a man lying on the ground. At 12:15 hours, seconds later, before Medic 2 had left the station, the klaxon went off for a house fire with trapped occupants. Fortunately, the police department informed dispatch that Medic 2 was not needed for the earlier call and they were able to respond immediately to the house fire.
When Medic 2 arrived on the scene they found a two-story house with heavy smoke showing and confirmed that there were children trapped in the home. Within a minute, Engine 2 arrived on the scene and took command. At that time, the mother of the young girls had already exited the home from an upstairs window onto a porch roof and then down a tree and a friend holding her youngest daughter age five were climbing down the tree and were assisted by neighbors and firefighters. Two police officers were at the front door downstairs but could not go inside due to the heavy smoke and intense heat.
A fire attack crew from Engine 2 went into the structure immediately with a 1