VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - WAVY.com has obtained audio recordings from fire crews as they were dispatched during Friday's F/A-18D jet crash, offering a look into what the first responders were seeing as they arrived on scene.
"Report of an aircraft accident, 900 South Birdneck Road," the dispatcher began just after noon Friday, following a long list of engine and EMS crew numbers.
"It's going to be on North Birdneck Road, not South Birdneck Road, we have heavy smoke in the area," a Battalion Chief replied some moments later.
Crews responded quickly to the area of the Mayfair Mews Apartments in Virginia Beach, only with the words 'report of an aircraft accident' still buzzing in their ears.
"We are getting further reports that it may have hit an apartment complex located at 1001 Fleming Circle," the dispatcher added.
When fire and EMS crews arrived, they found several buildings of the apartment complex heavily involved in fire. After some talk about where they were going to set up and where the fire hydrants were, the rest of the crew who hadn't made it on scene heard just how involved the buildings were.
"Two complete buildings on fire," one firefighter called out over the radio.
Another firefighter called for a third alarm and a third list of fire engines went out to respond to the scene.
Fire crews communicated with each other on their locations and where the best staging areas were close to the complex. They offered each other help and remained calm and collected.
"I've got a fully involved apartment with the jet involved as well," a firefighter called out. "We have police searching the 1000 apartments, they are clear."
As fire crews worked to put out the flames, EMS crews were stationed and ready with an ambulance for anyone who may have been hurt.
Power crews were dispatched to the scene to deal with downed power lines in the area.
During the battle, a fourth alarm was called out with more fire crews dispatched to the scene.
Virginia Beach Fire officials said Friday evening firefighters were able to get the fire under control in about an hour after crews arrived. Mayor Will Sessoms spoke highly of the first responders and their work performance before, during and after the jet crashed, claiming he had never been so proud.
"I want to recognize the community in that area for pulling together to help our first responders – the firefighters, police officers, EMS personnel and members of the military – in the moments following the crash," Sessoms said in a statement Monday afternoon. "I have never been prouder to serve the citizens of our great city."
To read Sessoms' entire statement, click here .
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