SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Saturday morning started off with a scare for people inside a senior living apartment complex in Suffolk when an electrical fire broke out and prompted an evacuation.
According to Suffolk Fire officials, crews were called to a commercial fire alarm at 8:43 a.m. Saturday at the Royal Sail Apartment in the 1100 block of Knotts Pointe Lane.
When they got to the scene, crews reported seeing heavy smoke coming from the electrical room of the fire-story building with smoke making its way into the entire building through the trash chute.
It was then upgraded to a two-alarm fire with smoke reported on all five floors.
Crews found the electrical service panel in the mechanical room on the first floor of the building on fire.
The fire was suppressed in the mechanical room with smoke extending to the four floors above the mechanical room. The fire was placed under control at 9:31 a.m.
Power was subsequently restored and firefighters were able to determine the fire did not extend from the mechanical room and the smoke was removed from the four floors above.
Officials say the electrical service drops and panel box in the mechanical room sustained heavy fire damage. Two hundred occupants and one hundred apartment units were affected by the fire.
“We came out of the apartment and saw smoke filling the hallway, there’s a trash room down the hall and there’s smoke coming under the door of that,” said Bill Byrd.
Byrd and his wife, Jill, have a rescue dog and a kitten.
“I was worried because we couldn’t find our cat,” said Mrs. Byrd.
“She runs and hides when the alarms go off and it took some time to look for her, but then [my husband] was like ‘c’mon, we gotta leave,'” she added.
The Byrds took their pup and were evacuated for about three hours total.
When they were allowed back into their building after the temporary evacuation, the Byrds were thrilled to find their cat, Nora, was patiently waiting for their arrival.
BECO Asset Management was on the scene and worked with the displaced occupants for relocation and housing. No injuries were reported by firefighters or occupants. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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