Family, friends remember deadly house fire victim

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LEBANON, Ind. (MAY 21, 2016) -- Saturday night, Lebanon-based rock ‘n’ roll band Copacetic Avenue is rocking out in honor of 44-year-old David Dickerson.

Dickerson, known as “Virgil” to many, died when his Lebanon mobile home caught fire early Saturday morning.

Firefighters arrived in the 900 block of Bibler Street around 1:30 a.m. to find the home engulfed and Virgil trapped inside.

“I kept screaming, ‘Where’s Virgil? Where’s Virgil?’” next-door-neighbor Jessica Walker recounted. “And he wasn’t out of the house, but there was nothing we could do. It was just engulfed.”

Walker said it had been little more than an hour since Virgil left her home last night before she heard a popping noise. She looked outside and saw flames everywhere.

Now, she says she and others are dealing with the memories of knowing they could do nothing, but stand there while Virgil, two dogs and a cat were inside.

“I was thinking that I want to go in there, that I wanna open the door, that I wanna keep yelling for him, so he knows which way to crawl if he’s crawling,” Walker said.

Dickerson and his three pets never made it out.

A cousin staying at the home and his wife Angie were already on the front lawn when firefighters arrived.

But the house was filled with flames and smoke by the time they woke up, so both were taken to the hospital, treated for smoke inhalation and released.

Shortly after being released, Angie went back to cope with her husband’s death by looking for any sign of his life in the ashes of the burned home.

Friends stopped by throughout the day to add to a small memorial on the front lawn.

Hands helped sift through the charred, twisted metal searching for anything that could be saved.

Memories were shared.

“We grew up two doors down from each other, so he’s basically a brother to me,” James Gregory said of Virgil. “Virgil was a great guy.”

James Gregory came with Dan Wells, another friend of Virgil’s.

“He’d give you anything he had,” Wells said. “And if he didn’t have it, he’d get it for you.”

The loss of his kind spirit, is what family and friends say they’ll be mourning for a long time.

“He’s family for sure. Gonna miss him,” Gregory said. “Definitely gonna miss him.”

Gregory and Wells are both members of Copacetic Avenue, Virgil’s favorite local band.

He’d planned to see one of their shows tonight, so the band is playing in his honor, as a way to remember their favorite fan.

The cause of the fire that killed Virgil has not yet been determined by fire investigators.

Dickerson’s wife, Angie, is staying with family right now. This GoFundMe account is set up to help her pay for his funeral.

 

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