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Second victim in Hopewell basement fire dies

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HOPEWELL, Va. — The second victim who was badly injured in a fire that broke out in the basement of a Hopewell home last week has died.

Family members confirmed 46-year-old Jodie Acheson died Sunday morning at VCU Medical Center.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for her funeral expenses.

“Jodie tragically lost her life in a house fire in the Hopewell fire on S 16th Ave. after just recently reuniting with her son that was adopted,” family members wrote. “We are trying to respect her wishes to not cremate her and give her a burial.”

Jodie Acheson

Jodie Acheson

Randall George Booth, 64, died Thursday afternoon in the hospital’s burn ward. He suffered third-degree burns to his upper body.

The fire broke out Wednesday afternoon in the basement apartment of a home located in the 100 block of South 16th Street. Officials said Thursday smoking in bed caused the fire.

A roommate told WTVR CBS 6 the man injured in the fire had been drinking prior to the 911 call that sent fire crews to the site.

“I saw smoke billowing out the basement window,” said Keith Harris, who lives upstairs.  “I ran back in upstairs, grabbed my bag and ran out and called 911.”

Firefighters arrived on scene to find heavy smoke and fire and neighbors told them people were trapped inside.

“We made an aggressive interior attack and found two victims,” said Hopewell Fire Chief Donny Hunter.

Neighbors said the man that lived there was found first. “They dragged him out,” said Tina Whitesell, who lives next door.  “His face was charred and chest and stomach were swollen.  Then they were doing chest compressions.”

While fire investigators worked on trying to find a cause, Ronnie Elmore, a roommate and long-time friend, has his own theory on how the fire started.

“I told him to put the cigarettes down.  That’s what I think happened,” said Elmore. “Randy Booth — one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet in your whole life. He’s got a heart bigger than this town.”