PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Residents in a Portsmouth neighborhood are sharing their story of jumping into action after a fire sent seven kids to the hospital.
According to Portsmouth fire officials, a fire broke out in a townhome in the Charlestowne Townhomes community around 1 p.m. Wednesday.
When firefighters arrived, they rescued two children from inside the home. Seven others had been rescued before they arrived.
10 On Your Side discovered that a daycare, Indoor/Outdoor Reach LLC. was being operated out of the home. The city declined to confirm if it had a business license.
One neighbor, Durrell Skeeter, told 10 On Your Side a child from his own household came in and calmly told him the neighbor’s house was on fire.
“From what I saw, it was a little fire and a lot of smoke,” he said. “Me and the owner tried to get in the home but there was so much smoke you couldn’t get in. I ran around the back, saw the kids hanging out the window. I was able to reach up and get them out of the house.”
Skeeter says some of the kids were still inside but the fire was too intense.
“It was scary especially one of the boys I didn’t know was in the house. I could hear him but couldn’t quite get to him,” he said.
A resident who lives next door says he noticed smoke in his living room and kitchen and went outside to check. He called 911 and ran down the street to guide in the fire trucks.
Officials have not said if an adult was home at the time but Skeeter says the owner rushed to help.
“She was prepping to get the kids on the bus when it just took off. It was fast. I would say all within seven minutes paramedics came. We got the kids out. We panicked,” he said.
According to the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, 10 children were in the hospital following the Portsmouth fire and a fire in Suffolk. Four of the 10 fire victims were in the intensive care unit as of noon Thursday. The rest were in general care units. It’s unclear which fire or fires the children in the intensive care unit are from.
Skeeter says he spoke with some of the parents who say their kids are doing fine and he’s praying for all.