Police: Rioters Set Fire to Home with Child Inside, Then Block Firefighters

A car explodes as firefighters attempt to douse the flames as protesters march through downtown during a third night of unrest Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Gov. Ralph Northam issued a curfew for this evening. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
AP Photo/Steve Helber

The chief of the Richmond, Virginia, police department said Sunday that rioters set fire to a multi-family home with a child inside while blocking access for firefighters to get through to save the child.

“One incident that is particularly poignant, that truly illustrates the seriousness of the issues we’re facing,” Chief Will Smith told reporters. “Protesters intentionally set fire to an occupied building on [West] Broad Street. This is not the only occupied building that has been set fire to in the last two days.”

“They prohibited us from getting on scene,” the police chief continued. “We had to force our way to make a clear path for the fire department.”

Luckily, officers found a way to access the building, saving the child and the rest of the family.

“Protesters intercepted that fire apparatus several blocks away with vehicles and blocked that fire department’s access to the structure fire,” Smith said. “Inside that home was a child.”

“Officers were able to,” Smith said, with his voice overcome with emotion, “help those people out of the house.”

Protests and riots began popping up in places such as Detroit, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; and Oakland, California, to demonstrate against the manner in which George Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer pinned his neck using his knee for nearly ten minutes.

Four officers were fired since that incident, and one of the officers, Derek Chauvin, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter less than 50 minutes after his arrest was made public.


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