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North Lansing family mourning after fatal house fire

Posted at 8:29 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 20:33:43-04

LANSING, Mich. — A family is mourning after a structure fire killed two people in Lansing Wednesday night.

Around 11 p.m., Lansing firefighters responded to a house fire at 1005 Hapeman Street. Three people were in the home, but only one survived.

Tanesha Hogan, 29, and Roy Chester Verster, 40, died in the fire.

Family members, who also lived in the home with the victims, say they're devastated this happened.

"I left here and then I got a phone call from my mom talking about 'your house just caught on fire and we don't know if your uncle is inside or not,'" Caleb Patterson, victim's nephew said.

Caleb says he came to live with his uncle five months ago when he was going through a hard time. The 18-year-old said his uncle Chester was always someone he could depend on no matter what.

"Now every time I close my eyes, I can see both of their faces, just us sitting in the living room just laughing, talking about my future which would have been their future too. Everything they wanted me to do to get ready for everything, college, sports, just life in general," Patterson said.

Caleb says he isn't sure where the fire started, but he was told it started in the kitchen. Neighbors say by the time they realized what was happening it was too late.

"I heard crackling noises, didn't think much of it and then I started seeing bright lights and then I went into the front bedroom and that's when I saw flames shooting out the house," Paula, next door neighbor said.

"It smelled like wood, I could taste it and it was hot," Olivia Adway, another neighbor said about the fire.

The family says they will continue to move forward, but it's going to be hard.

"Everything that I own, everything that I worked for, the person that I tried to model my life after is gone.. everything," Patterson said.

"Tomorrow is not promised. Go hug them and tell them you love them and you need them because I would give anything to hug my brother and Tanesha and Chester again and I can't," Kenai Patterson-Johnson, sister said.

Caleb says his uncle's impact will continue to encourage him, even if he isn't here to do it himself.

No firefighters were hurt while responding to the fire. There is still no official cause for what started it.

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