VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Authorities are investigating a fatality at a house fire on Harton Court in Virginia Beach, a fire official confirmed with 10 On Your Side.
Dispatchers say the fire at 3721 Harton Court, in the Birchwood Gardens area, was reported at 10:20 a.m. Thursday morning. Smoke and flames were visible when Chopper 10 flew above the home about 15 minutes later.
Fire Battalion Chief Mike Hopkins says the department is investigating a fatality at the home, after a neighbor who called 911 told WAVY News 10’s Andy Fox there was someone inside. A fire department source told WAVY that family that lives nearby has been notified.
“I told them, you know, there’s somebody in there. And so, then I saw flames coming out of his bedroom window,” said Mark Horak.
It’s unclear what caused the fire at the time, but investigators were still at the scene as of 12:30 p.m.
One of the people who called in the fire to first responders was neighbor Mark Horak.
“When I called I saw all the smoke in the backyard. I dialed 911, talked to the fire department and said there was someone in there but we couldn’t get in the house,” Horak said.
Inside was a 43-year-old man who couldn’t get out, sources told WAVY’s Andy Fox.
“The door was locked, and 911 told me not to open the door, or break any windows because you could cause it to flashover,” Horak continued.
A large crowd gathered outside the home. The victim’s family, including his parents live on the street, and many of them were visibly devastated.
“I told them there is someone in there and then I saw a flame coming out of his bedroom window, and I said you need to get here, it is definitely burning and there is someone in the house,” he said.
Virginia Beach Battalion Chief Mike Hopkins spoke with members of the media.
“Right now we are in the investigative phase as to what the cause was. We do have one confirmed fatality, and we are in the process of identifying who that person is,” Hopkins said.
Tammy Humphreys lives in a home behind the one that burned.
“We heard the sirens, and we heard a loud pop, and we weren’t sure what was going on, and we happened to be looking out our sunroom, and all of a sudden we saw flames shooting out of the house.”
The victim shared the home with the owner who we are told was at work when fire broke out. We saw him at the home, and asked if there is any word on what caused the fire, but he kept walking. A fire marshal on the scene said it is still under investigation.
A neighbor’s daughter, Chelsea Hill, came to the scene with her mother. She said she found it cruel with everything going on with the coronavirus that a family had this happen.
“With everything going on, it’s kind of like you want positiveness, and it is crazy this is happening. I just want everything to be positive after everything that is happening,” she said.
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