As a fatal fire burned at a Glade Spring Mini-Storage unit last month, a handful of witnesses reported seeing smoke in a series of 911 calls.
The calls made on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 18, were obtained from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office through a Freedom of Information Act request.
“I don’t know if this has been reported yet or not, but I just got off the Glade Spring exit … and as I was getting off the exit I saw smoke to my right,” a woman told a dispatcher at 1:33 p.m.
The storage unit business is off Lee Highway and visible from Interstate 81.
“There’s something on fire in there,” the caller said.
Another witness also reported smoke in a 911 call at 1:34 p.m.
When the operator asked if it looked like the fire was contained to just one unit, the man said, “Well, I can’t tell — I see smoke coming out of the back, and the wall is turning brown. It’s a metal wall, so something’s burning inside it that shouldn’t be on fire.”
The fire killed Walter “Bryan” Lampkins, 46. Authorities said Lampkins had been staying at the unit, and the fire may have started with a space heater. But he was unable to escape because the unit’s door was locked.
Kelly Lynn Goff, 46, has since been charged with abduction and involuntary manslaughter in the case. Officials reviewed surveillance footage from the facility that shows her closing the door and locking it, according to a criminal affidavit filed last month in Washington County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Goff, who rented the storage unit, had a child with Lampkins.
On the afternoon of the fire, 911 also received a 30-second call at 1:40 p.m. from a man who said he was driving northbound on I-81 when he passed what he thought was a fire at the storage facility.
Around the same time, a fourth call came in from a woman who said she could see smoke from the Econo Lodge motel, which is next door to Glade Spring Mini-Storage.
“I work at the Econo Lodge in Glade, and the storage building beside of it — it looks like there is something burning in it. There’s a lot of smoke,” the unidentified caller said.
Lampkins regularly stayed at the Econo Lodge with Goff, who lived and worked at the motel, a family member previously told the Bristol Herald Courier. He also used the storage unit as a place to sleep, which his daughter and ex-wife said was likely due to arguments he had with Goff.
Goff has been held without bail at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Abingdon since Jan. 18. She was denied bond at a hearing last week. Her attorney, David Childers, is appealing that decision.
Her next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 18.