CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) - Chesapeake fire crews responded to a house fire, which turned into a five-home fire, in the Greenbrier section of the city April 12.
When they arrived to the 600 block of Sweet Leaf Place just before 5 p.m., two homes were already showing heavy fire, with flames spreading to a third. The third home soon caught fire.
"We just heard the sirens, and they were really loud," neighbor Heather Marcum said. "We thought that's really close, and we stood up and there was big billowing of smoke in the sky. We kind of freaked out and ran out of the house."
Don Slater in Super Doppler 10 said wind speeds were around 15-16 miles an hour at the time of the initial fire, and no red flag warnings were in effect.
"The wind was blowing very hard, and I think that's what caused a lot of the fire to spread," said witness Amy Daniel.
Fire investigators say the wind just fanned the flames.
"The wind was horrible," witness Rachel Henry added. "It has died down. I wish it would have been calmer in the heat of the moment earlier. Maybe not so many houses would have burned."
Marcum could only can stand and watch as her home started to catch fire.
"It was so fast," Marcum recalled.
While her home was spared, she wishes the same could be said for her neighbors.
"I feel very lucky," Marcum said. "God was looking out for me - us anyways."
Capt . Michael Thibeault , with the Chesapeake Fire Department, said the fire started in the middle home of the five homes, but a cause is not known at this time.
At 5:08 p.m., the incident was deemed a four-alarm fire, with around 65 firefighter responding to the homes between 623 and 633 Sweet Leaf Place.
Emergency officials at the scene confirmed five homes were destroyed.
One firefighter suffered minor injuries. No one else was hurt. Crews did search the homes, but did not locate anyone.
Thibeault said they are working to contact families and ensure everyone is accounted for. So far, they've reached all but one homeowner.
VIrginia Natural Gas is now on the scene, securing one of the homes' natural gas line. Water the homes has also been cut off.
Electricity for the entire neighborhood is off, as Virginia Dominion Power isolates the power, Thibeault said. Power should be restored sometime tonight.
Stay with WAVY.com for updates on this story as they become available.
State police is conducting a criminal investigation after a vehicle crashing into a residence on the Eastern Shore.
David Karl Becker, a Navy SEAL, was arrested on four charges related to stealing and selling government-owned firearms and ammunition.
Newport News Police said they are looking for the person who drove into the wall of a car wash and stole a control box.