Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the apartment building was a house. The error has been corrected.
NORFOLK., Va. (WAVY) — A fire that destroyed a vacant apartment building in Norfolk on Wednesday morning damaged several nearby homes and vehicles.
Norfolk dispatchers say they received the call around 2:17 a.m. for the fire near 27th and 28th Street.
“They were beating on the door and the wall and thank the lord they were able to get us woke and we were able to get out of the house. As we saw the fire begin to take, burn the side of the house, said Pastor Tony Brooks, whose homes was damaged “Thank the lord we made it out with our life.”
8 nearby homes and 3 cars were damaged due to exposure from the heat and flames, firefighters say.
“We could feel the heat coming through the walls. All we could do was grab some of what we could and just make it out of the house,” Brooks said.
It took until about 6 a.m. to get the flames and smoke completely out, as the flames kept coming back. No injuries were reported.
Kim Hill, who lives across the street, says the building caught fire two years ago and a contractor had been working to restore it.
“The [building] was in flames. This is the second time that [the building] has caught on fire. It’s unfortunate, it’s gone to the ground,” Hill said. “I was in awe I really, you know, it’s a shame that this house that all of those people put work into. Someone bought it and put a lot work into it. And it just went up. My neighbors everyone got out safe. It’s a shame to see it go.”
Brittany Wheeler live right across the street.
She says, she and her husband were awaken by the heat.
Their home suffered severe siding damage.
She believes issues they’ve had with squatters may have something to do with the fire.
“There were a lot of squatters going in and out and I’m sure it was just someone trying to stay warm and it got out of control or something,” she said.
Nevertheless she is glad burned and melted siding is the extent of the damage.
“We can build and repair and replace things but no one had a scratch on their head, which is awesome and that’s all we can really ask for,” said Wheeler.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.