HAMPTON — The memorial site in honor of Noah Tomlin, the missing toddler from Buckroe Beach who was found dead at the city’s steam plant, caught fire early Monday, the Hampton Fire Department said.
“We don’t believe it was a suspicious fire,” said Anthony Chittum, battalion chief for the fire department.
At approximately 2:45 a.m. Monday, the fire department received a call about a fire at Noah’s memorial — it only took the crew less than 15 mins to put it out, Chittum said.
He added there were high winds and the memorial site had lots of candles and stuffed animals, a “large amount of combustable materials.”
Chittum noted the department did take samples at the memorial site and sent them to a state forensics lab for processing. It will take weeks before they get a result and even then, it would be hard to prove the fire was set intentionally, Chittum added.
“We have zero reason to suspect it was malicious,” Chittum said.
The missing toddler from Buckroe Beach was found at the city’s steam plant on July 3, about nine days after his mother, Julia Tomlin, reported him missing on June 24. In the days following his disappearance, residents and other members of the community have decorated ‘Noah’s tree’ with stuffed animals, flowers, toys and other items.