Tiffanie Garris stands near a Birdsnest home as she describes the fire that claimed the life of an 100-year-old woman.

By Ted Shockley


A family member and a neighbor have identified the 100-year-old woman who was fatally injured in a house fire Sunday night in Northampton County.

Verlene Jones, who had been sleeping in an upstairs bedroom, died in the blaze, said Zina Jones, a niece who lives next door.

Ethel Jones, another resident in the Sealey Road, Birdsnest, home, was brought out of the blaze by a neighbor, Irving Borden, according to Tiffanie Garris, who lives nearby. 

The fire was reported at 11:25 p.m. and units and personnel from Nassawadox, Cheriton, Exmore, Eastville, Painter, Cape Charles, Wachapreague and Northampton EMS responded. 

High winds and cold temperatures on the coldest night of the winter so far made battling the blaze difficult. 

Reports from the scene indicate the cause of the fire was a kerosene heater inside the home.

Garris described a harrowing scene, with the home’s third resident, Mona Jones, running up to her home and screaming for help as her home burned. 

“I’d just laid down and five minutes later, I heard somebody outside say, ‘House on fire, house on fire,’” she said.

That’s when Borden ran in, found Ethel Jones “and brought her out in his arms,” said Garris.

Garris also confirmed the identity of the deceased woman.


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