PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Firefighters responded to a structure fire Wednesday morning on Turnpike Road just off of Rodman Avenue in Portsmouth.
Officials say they were notified just after 1:30 a.m. for an apartment building fire in the 3700 block of Turnpike Road. Crews arrived on scene and found heavy fire coming from the entrance of the building.
The fire was marked under control a short time later. There were no injuries reported to firefighters or civilians, but at least four apartments were damaged by smoke and fire.
“The main problem was that everyone’s escape was cut off, but the folks managed to get out prior to the fire becoming that intense,” said Portsmouth Fire Chief Jim Hoffler.
Ten people and one child are displaced now.
A woman who lives in one of the units that was affected says neighbors knocked on her door to alert her. She and her six-year-old child escaped out the back window.
Chief Hoffler says the fire was started accidentally by a resident because of discarded smoking materials on a couch. He says a man in his underwear heard the smoke detector and alerted neighbors.
Neighbor, Jason Provost, says many residents already need a little extra help, which makes the loss even harder.
“People with lower income they help, them get apartments to get on their feet you know, place where they can stay and it’s kind of sad because this was their spot and now they’re hurting again for a place I’m sure,” said Provost.
The sign on the side of the apartment complex says “2nd Chance Housing, A Program of Community Care Community Development Corporation.” 10 On Your Side made several calls to track down the complex owner to learn more about the program, but we haven’t heard back yet.