Posted: Aug. 9, 2014 5:33 pm Updated: Aug. 23, 2014 6:15 pm
Family members and friends constructed a memorial for Lewis Bassett and his two sons, Lewis Jr. and Ladavion, in front of the house at 921 N. 11th. All three died after a house fire there Saturday. (H-W Photo/Alyse Thompson)
By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
A quiet afternoon on Quincy's northwest side turned tragic Saturday as a father and his two young sons were pulled from a burning house. All three later died of injuries they suffered in the fire at 921 N. 11th.
Adams County Coroner James Keller said Saturday afternoon that Lewis Bassett, 43, and his son, Ladavion Bassett, 1, had died. A second son, Lewis Bassett Jr., 3, was transported by life flight to St. Louis Children's Hospital. A news release Sunday morning from the Quincy Police Department indicated Lewis Bassett Jr. died at 4:05 a.m.
It didn't take firefighters long to extinguish the flames at 921 N. 11th, but family members and neighbors screamed and cried as each of the Bassetts was carried out and placed on a stretcher.
All three were found in the north section of the house, Quincy Assistant Fire Chief Rob Tipton said.
Tipton said the initial call came in at 5:06 p.m. The three were taken out of the house at about 5:20 p.m. and were immediately taken to Blessing Hospital, which is four blocks directly south of the residence.
Fire officials have not determined the cause of the blaze.
Bassett and his wife, Patsy, had been renting the house from Randy White, who lives at 925 N. 11th, one house north of the fire scene. White said he had evicted the family from the house earlier this week.
Adams County Circuit Clerk records show that White won a lawsuit against Patsy Bassett on Wednesday and was awarded $1,610 plus court costs. White said the Bassetts had just split up. He said he allowed Lewis Bassett to remain at the residence while he was cleaning up the house.
“It was only supposed to be him there,” White said. “The kids weren't supposed to be there.”
White said he had returned home about 4 p.m. Saturday and checked on Bassett “to make sure he was cleaning the mess up.”
White later was inside his home when he heard sirens.
“We came outside and the blaze was just running out the door (of Bassett's house),” White said.
Bassett's mother, Laura Abbey, lives at 917 N. 11th, one door south of where the fire happened. Abbey, who uses a wheelchair, was comforted by many friends and family members as they watched firefighters carry the Bassetts from the residence and put out the blaze. She sat across the street from the scene for at least an hour.
Abbey said she had no idea how her son or her grandchildren were.
“I've never asked anyone,” she said as firefighters continued to work the scene. “I'm afraid to ask because I don't want to know. I don't want them to tell me the worst.”
Abbey was alerted to the fire by her son-in-law. She said Pasty Bassett had left the boys with Lewis Bassett on Wednesday.
“She took everything out of the house, and she didn't come back to get (the children),” Abbey said.
Several neighbors tried to enter the house before emergency workers arrived.
Bosco Semanda, 38, of 1108 Chestnut, said he had just left his house when he circled back around and noticed smoke billowing from the Bassett residence.
“Some neighbors tried to open the doors, but they were locked,” Semanda said. “The windows were shut. Everything was locked down.”
Semanda said he went to the back of the house to try to find another entrance.
“I got a big old brick and busted the glass door in the back and let it open so the smoke could come out,” he said. “Then the police came and told me not to go in.”
The fatal fire is Quincy's second this year. The other happened April 16 at 515 S. 17th, when 25-year-old Daniel Disseler and his 4-month-old son, Hunter, died in an early morning blaze. — firstname.lastname@example.org/221-3370
Relatives of Lewis Bassett and his two sons, Lewis Jr. and Ladavion, begin a memorial Sunday afternoon after all three died from a fire at 921 N. 11th on Saturday. Family gathered around the home for much of the day. (H-W Photo/Alyse Thompson)
Richelle Bias, sister of Lewis Bassett Sr., holds up a photo of Lewis Sr., his wife, Patsy, and his son, Lewis Jr., Sunday. Bias said her brother had gotten into trouble in the past but made some changes. (H-W Photo/Alyse Thompson)
Quincy firefighters talk in front of a house fire at 921 N. 11th Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. Three people were pulled from the blaze on Quincy's northwest side and rushed to Blessing Hospital. (H-W Photo/Phil Carlson)