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Woman attacked, rescued from burning Henrico home

HIGHLAND SPRINGS, Va. -- Henrico Police and firefighters are investigating a Friday morning house fire that morphed into a crime scene after it appeared the woman who lives in the home was attacked during a robbery.

Henrico Fire was called to the Highland Springs home, in the 100 block of North New Avenue, at about 5:35 a.m. Friday.

"The first personnel arrived within five minutes of dispatch to find a small fire outside of a home, as well as smoke coming from inside the house," Henrico Captain Taylor Goodman said. "Personnel quickly extinguished the fire outside of the home while additional crews went inside to search for victims and to locate the source of the smoke."

Firefighters entered the home and found a woman inside.

"During their search, firefighters discovered a female inside the home, and what appeared to be a crime scene as well," Goodman said. "She was quickly taken out of the home, where she was provided advanced life support care and transported to a local hospital for what appears to be non-life-threatening injuries."

The question remained, who or what caused those injuries.

"It appears a crime may have occurred inside the house," Goodman said without elaborating on the injuries.

Curtis Cooper, who said he's known the 78-year-old victim for 30 years, was told by police on scene someone had broken into the home during a robbery attempt.  That person, the man was told, also set the house fire.

"He set the house on fire after he didn't get what he want," Cooper said. "Why would somebody want to hurt a little old lady?"

He added that the victim told him earlier this week that she'd caught a young man peeping into her home.

Police have not yet released any information about a possible suspect.

A neighbor who watched paramedics bring the victim to the stretcher described her injuries, "it was like she was in a car accident." Her face was bloodied and swollen, according to witnesses.

Henrico Police and the Henrico Fire Marshal’s Office have opened a joint investigation into the incident.

This is a developing story. Witnesses can email news tips and photos here.

Anyone with additional information about this situation can call Henrico Police at 804-501-5000.