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Counselors available for pupils after New Market fire

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

NEW MARKET -- Counselors and psychologists were on hand at Ashby Lee Elementary School Monday to help students cope with the weekend death of a fourth-grader, Superintendent Keith Rowland said.

Truman Markwood Wine, 9, his father, Jeff Wine, and another man were killed in a fire at a single-wide trailer at 19276 Smith Creek Road early Saturday morning.

The fire was near New Market, but over the Rockingham County line, Assistant Rockingham County Fire Marshal Mike Armstrong said Monday. He said the fire was reported at around 4:45 a.m.

Armstrong wouldn't confirm the names of any of the dead. He did identify three men who survived the fire: William Blosser, 54, and Wayne Blosser, 56, of New Market, and Steve Curry, 48, who lived at the trailer with the Wines.

Curry was flown to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville with burns, Wayne Blosser was treated and released from Rockingham Memorial Hospital for a laceration, and William Blosser was treated at the scene, Armstrong said.

The surviving men called 911 from a neighbor's house, he said. The home was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, according to Armstrong.

It appears there were no smoke detectors in the trailer, he said.

"That's information from the surviving witnesses," he said. "Due to the damage, we can't fully confirm that. One of the folks we spoke with, they don't recall seeing any there, and we believe there were none present."

Truman's mother, Holly Kennedy, who lives in Linville with her parents and her daughter, was left reeling by his death.

"I'm speechless right now," she said. "It's just still feeling like it's a dream, that this really didn't happen, even though in reality I know it did. I'm just trying to cope one day at a time."

Kennedy said Truman loved coming to her house to play outside with his 7-year-old sister, Deseree.

"He was a very happy kid, very smart and intelligent," she said. "He loved going to school."

Kennedy's mother, Linda Kennedy, said Truman was an "awesome" kid who loved dinosaurs and animals. She said Deseree has been told her big brother is now an angel.

"We tried to explain it to her in ways she would understand," said Linda Kennedy, who called her grandson "Mark." "Of course, she got upset, cried a whole lot. Then I held her hands and prayed with her. I said God would take care of him. She asked if he was still hurting. I said, 'No, his pain is gone.' She was OK with that.

"She went to school today. I think it's better for her to be with other kids."

Truman had been at Ashby Lee about two years, according to an email from Principal Stephen Povlish III. The email describes him as a "very friendly and outgoing" child.
Rowland said he visited Truman's class on Monday.

"It was very solemn in there," he said. "It's hard for fourth-graders. You have to reach out to them as well because you know they're hurting."

The fire's cause remains under investigation, Armstrong said. He said the victims' cause of death is being examined by the medical examiner's office in Roanoke.

Armstrong hoped the tragedy would bring home the importance of having smoke detectors.

A Facebook page called Card/Donation Shower for Holly Kennedy has been set up.

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