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Fire destroys historic Urbanna home

The four people who lived in the Burton House on watling Street in Urbanna escaped and survived the fire. Two were hospitalized. The home burned to the ground last Saturday along with two trucks and a car. With its Italianate (gingerbread) trim and folk-Victorian style of architecture, the house was always a welcoming sight to everyone who came across the bridge into the Town of Urbanna. (Photo by Larry Chowning)

by Larry Chowning

The Town of Urbanna lost one of its treasures Saturday, January 6, when the historic Burton House at 49 Watling Street burned to the ground.

About 7:15 a.m. Saturday in single-digit temperatures, the Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD) was dispatched to the home of Beth Justice and her husband Rod McMordie on Watling Street in Urbanna. When the firefighters arrived minutes later, flames and smoke were pouring out of windows on the east side of the house.

Justice and McMordie, and Alexis Leggett and Charles Johnson, who have been renting a room in the house, were able to get out of the burning structure only with the clothes they were wearing. As she was escaping, Justice fell and broke her ankle.

Justice is the great-granddaughter of Columbus and Lucy Burton. She and her husband are leaders of the well-known band, “Sweet Justice.”

The community steps up to help fire victims

by Tom Chillemi

There has been an outpouring of support for the victims of the January 6 fire that destroyed the Urbanna home for Beth Justice and Rod McMordie, leaders of the classic rock band “Sweet Justice.” Also displaced in the fire were Alexis Lauren Leggett and her boyfriend Charles Johnson, who had rented living space in the house.

Four GoFundMe sites have been set up and an account has been opened at C&F Bank to donate to benefit the four fire victims, which lost almost everything.

Kerry Robusto started a GoFundMe account at Sonabank in Urbanna under the title of “Beth Justice Fire Fund.” Donations also can be made at the bank.

The “Beth Justice House Fire” at GoFundMe was organized by Leah Elisabeth.

Leggett and Johnson lost everything they owned in the fire, wrote Leggett’s mother Tia Renee Trevallion on a GoFundMe site that she created. They had been renting a room. Johnson’s truck burned and Leggett’s car was damaged.

Taylor Lockley set up “Fire recovery Fund for Charles” at GoFundMe, and the site notes there is a donation jar at Something Different in Urbanna where Johnson is employed.

Visit Facebook for information on “Community for Sweet Justice Strong.” The account has been set up at C&F Bank at Cooks Corner. Call 757-810-6680 for information.

Mary Atkinson’s Facebook page states she has partnered with “Kakes with a K” (better known as G’s Deli in Saluda) and Shoot for Five Photography to auction off a cake and a gift certificate for a family photo session. The auction ends February 6.

Musician Chris Stanley with “Out On A Limb” will hold a fundraiser for the victims at Something Different in Urbanna on Friday, January 19 at 7 p.m.

On Saturday and Sunday, January 13-14, the Sportsman Restaurant and Lounge in Richmond will hold a two-day fundraiser with live music. Call 804-236-1911.

Looking for Pets

On Monday morning of this week, Beth’s daughter Morgan Stewart posted on Facebook that Beth had undergone surgery for her ankle.

Two pets survived. However, Stewart said she is still looking for a black dog (Gracie), a black cat (Molly), a long haired gray cat (Wookie) and a small white and gray cat with a cropped ear (Ozzie).

Justice and McMordie will be living with Stewart in Quinton until they rebuild.

The Town of Urbanna staff has set a room aside upstairs to house donations of clothing and furnishings. It is unlocked so people can drop things off at any time.

“Everyone has been so kind with donations and have been asking for sizes,” Stewart wrote. Here’s a list of the clothes they need with sizes:

Beth: Socks, underwear, leggings (large/xl), shoes (8), tee shirts (large/xl), sweater (large), long sleeve shirt (large) PJs/sweatpants and sweatshirts(large/xl), tank top(xl), coat(xl), any winter gear like scarves, gloves and hats.

Rod: Socks, boxer briefs, work pants and jeans (36x34), work shirts, polos, sweaters, long sleeve shirts (large), sweat pants and sweat shirt/PJs (xl) coat (xl). Winter gear also.

Alexis: Tops-small, medium; bottoms-3/4; shoes 7-7.5.

Charles: Tops-medium; pants-29/30; shoes-10.5 wide.

posted 01.10.2018

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