NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — By now you’ve heard the crackling sounds and the flames that took down the Nicoll house on 15th Bay Street in Ocean View.
On Monday, we found Doug Nicoll in the ashes of his home — a family-owned lot since 1994. The house has been there since 2010, filled with memories which fire cannot destroy.
“Trying to find whatever we can, the valuables,” Nicoll said. “My wife’s rings and stuff like that, so that’s what we have to go through.”
He searches desperately for his wife’s wedding ring and other jewelry too. By day’s end, Nicoll would find a lot, including his own wedding ring.
“The problem was the excavator pushed a lot of this out of the way, so it really disrupted where it was in the house, where it is supposed to be,” Nicoll said. “So we got to look through all of it to find stuff.”
Nicoll’s wife Tammy ,who recently had a stroke, was home when the fire started.
Nicoll actually has surveillance video of the fire starting. You can hear a family member saying, “the house is on fire. Under the porch, the back of the house is on fire.”
Nicoll’s home surveillance video shows at 2:33 Sunday afternoon, the fire builds and comes out from under the back deck.
“There was nothing under the house that could have started a fire,” Nicoll said. “The only thing that was there was a generator, but the generator is not a smart generator, so it is not connected to the house, so it could not have started the fire by itself.”
Tammy Nicoll gets out of the house with the help of a neighbor, Kaori Glee.
“I start banging on the door, again,” Glee said, “and she opens it and I physically say you have to come on. We got to go. I grab her in a little hug, and we started walking down the stairs.“
The fire whipped by fierce winds, crosses the street, catching two cars on fire. It burned a plastic fence, spreading across Don Brezina’s yard.
“I have never seen a house burn down like that,” Brezina said. “I’ve seen a house catch on fire. I’ve never seen one that is totally gone — never seen that.”
The cause of fire has not been determined, and it may never be.
But Nicoll has his own possible theory.
“If a wire goes through the joist, they will try and chew through that same hole as well, and I found them dead connected to the wire,” Nicoll said. “They will electrocute themselves from the fire.”
Nicoll wanted to show us the only document he found intact.
“I found this document when my son was born,” Nicoll said. “It’s just a health card. It’s the only thing readable so far.”
A friend of the Nicoll family created a GoFundMe account to help them with immediate needs. Click here if you would like to contribute.