VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A husband and wife died after an explosion and fire at their welding business Monday morning.
The couple owned Neptune Welding on the 1300 block of Virginia Beach Boulevard, according to a deputy fire marshal with the Virginia Beach Fire Department who spoke with 10 On Your Side’s Jon Dowding.
Deputy Fire Marshall Capt. Jim Ingledue said the damage was contained to the one unit. A dog also died in the fire.
“Fortunately for the other business owners, the damage was contained to that end unit. In fact the business owner of the suite next door was very thankful and praised the fire department that there was no fire damage. Maybe a little smoke damage but all of his equipment and all of his stock and everything are fine. He’ll be able to reuse them,” he said.
Units were dispatched to a commercial fire at a storage unit at 11:11 a.m., according to Virginia Beach Fire Department spokeswoman Barbara Morrison.
Michael Albritton, who lives around the corner from the explosion, says he never expected something like an explosion would happen near where he lives, which is why when it happened, he didn’t think anything of it at first.
“I heard this loud BOOM explosion. I thought it was at the base, you know. And I thought a jet or something, kind of ignited, and they do that and they make all that loud noise,” said Albritton.
It wasn’t until he went outside and saw smoke and emergency crews did he realize something bad really happened.
“It was horrible, just terrible,” he said. “And all the smoke was just, blew all over and filled the area and I saw the sirens and the fire engines and all the medical facilities. Everybody come out.”
He told 10 On Your Side he remembers seeing heavy smoke outside when he looked to see what happened.
“A lot of black smoke, you didn’t smell any chemicals or anything of that nature. But, it was, it’s just horrific. Just terrible to experience that I mean I never experienced anything like that this time close to us,” he said.
Albritton said its even more terrible that this happened around the holidays.
“It’s just, a terrible thing. It’s right near Christmas,” he said.
Friends of the victims have set up a GoFundMe to help family members with expenses following the fire. To donate, CLICK HERE.
Officials say the fire was caused by a fuel tank that exploded when one of the victims was welding it.
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.