CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Officials say three people are dead and six are hurt after a four-alarm fire early Saturday morning at a senior living complex.
The three victims of the fire were located in different locations of the complex. Four residents and two firefighters are all in stable condition, according to Capt. Lawrence Matthews, who says the fire took more than two hours to get under control.
Firefighters got called out to the Chesapeake Crossing Apartments on Robert Hall Boulevard at 4:35 a.m. They arrived six minutes later to find smoke coming from the roof of three, three-story buildings at the complex.
“People were knocking on the door saying ‘Chesapeake Police! You need to evacuate.There’s a fire,” says resident Sharon Johnson.
Johnson says she heard a loud boom about 15 minutes before the door knocks but thought nothing of it.
“I could see the fire on the second side, the other side of the building coming towards where I live so I got out,” she says.
Officials say crews got the fire under control by 6:54 a.m. and the buildings are likely a total loss.
“It happened that I wasn’t there and I thank God I wasn’t,” says Al Smith, who lives in an apartment on the top floor.
Smith says he was staying at his girlfriend’s residence when he says he got a call from his son telling him his building was on fire. Smith showed up Saturday afternoon to check on his belongings and his neighbors.
“I’ve seen some of them but some of them aren’t talking. They’re upset because of the shock of what’s happened and it spread so fast,” he says.
Smith is concerned about what will happen to his belongs and so is Johnson. They’re both unsure what is next for them.
“What am I going to do?” Johnson asks.
The Chesapeake Fire Department has not yet released a total number of residents displaced, although they say it’s more than 24. A Red Cross official said that they served about 135 people for lunch and around 80 for dinner.
Indian River High School is serving as a temporary emergency shelter. Crews from Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Suffolk and Moyock assisted Chesapeake fire crews. If you would like to donate to assist the victims, please visit the United Way of South Hampton Roads’ website.
Investigators are still working to determine how the fire started.