VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A man has been charged with arson in connection to a two-alarm fire last week that damaged multiple apartment units and displaced more than a dozen people.
Officials with the Virginia Beach Fire Department said in a news release Thursday 31-Year old Kelly Bruce Halverson is charged with four counts of arson and one count of attempted arson.
Firefighters responded to the Pembroke Town Center Apartments in the 4600 block of Jeanne Street during the late-night hours of July 25.
A second alarm was called 20 minutes after the first units arrived on scene.
Four apartments were damaged by the flames while another four had smoke and water damage. 13 people were displaced in the fire but no one was injured, officials said.
The fire department said Thursday that because of the late hour of the alleged crime as well as the scope and size of the fire, Halverson could face between five years to life in prison if he is convicted.
Neighbors living at the Pembroke Town Center Apartments were shocked to find out the fire’s cause was arson.
“It’s sad. It heard a couple had only been here two weeks and they got burned out of their house. People keep everything. I would be devastated if I lost all I had like everyone else would,” said Terri Reid, who has lived there for five years.
Reid witnessed the fire and described it as unbelievable due to the way it looked. She says many thought the cause would be electrical, and the real cause makes her anxious.
“If one person will come in and set an apartment building on fire, who doesn’t live here, what’s stopping someone else from doing it? ” she said.
10 On Your Side reached out to Halverson, but he declined our request for an interview.
Halverson was arraigned on Thursday. A bond hearing is scheduled for Monday, while a preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 27.