Fire that killed woman at apartment on Runaway Bay Drive in Virginia Beach ruled accidental

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) — A woman was found dead on November 5 after a fire at an apartment in Virginia Beach.

Firefighters say they were dispatched just before 3 a.m. to the fire at 141 Runaway Bay Drive. They didn’t find a fire from the outside of the complex, but said there was an odor of smoke.

A neighbor who lives on the third floor did not want to speak on camera, but told 10 On Your Side he smelled smoke and called 911 when he was unable to pinpoint the source.

Fire crews searched the apartments and found the fire was contained to one apartment on the second floor, which had fire damage in the kitchen area and heavy smoke damage throughout.

During a search of the apartment, crews found the 55-year-old woman dead. She was identified on November 11 as 55-year-old Marilyn Yvette Exum. Firefighters say her death and the cause of the fire were both ruled accidental.

“Just woke up to really hearing every door being pounded on by the firefighters and then they came and knocked on our door and asked if there was any smoke in our apartment, because somebody had called upstairs about smelling smoke,” said neighbor Carols Dasilva. “Then maybe 5 to 10 minutes later, he came back and said they found the fire upstairs.”

“It’s very sad, very sad,” said neighbor Matt Harrell.

No other injuries were reported and the damage was confined to the one apartment. The Virginia Beach Fire Department urges citizens to check their smoke detectors.

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