VB resident says he believes condo fire that displaced 14 started in his unit

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A two-alarm tore through the roof of a condominium building in the Hilltop area early Wednesday morning, damaging several units and injuring three people.

The fire broke out around 5:30 a.m. at the Chesterfield Station condominiums in the 1900 block of Chantilly Court, just off First Colonial Road near the IHOP and Pizza Hut.

The fire department believes the fire was accidental in nature, but the exact cause is still under investigation. Firefighters believe it started on the third floor. The Red Cross says it’s helping 14 people that were displaced.

10 On Your Side’s Marielena Balouris spoke exclusively with a resident who believes the fire started in his apartment.

“I was sleeping and around 4:30, 5 o’clock, my mom started screaming fire so I got up real quick and looked at the fire,” said resident Dino Paratusic. “We were just trying to get everyone out, screaming.”

Paratusic told 10 On Your Side he believes the blaze accidentally started in his home.

“My brother bought firewood and we had the fireplace going and then he tried to, what’s it called, end the fire,” he said. “So I guess it didn’t end.”

All of the residents were able to evacuate as flames shot through the roof of building 9 at the condo complex. Firefighters say within minutes of arrival, a second alarm was called for extra help. Seven fire engines, three ladder trucks and three other vehicles responded in total.

Firefighters were able to enter the building despite the flames, and after making sure no one was left inside, all were ordered out due to fears of a roof collapse, fire officials say.

“I was woken up from firemen banging on my door,” said resident David Mulligan.

Firefighters continued to attack the flames from above with the ladder trucks and were able to eventually get the fire under control at 6:17 a.m.

“Thank goodness we didn’t have the wind out here this morning or the wind we had yesterday or there could’ve been more buildings on fire,” said Virginia Beach Fire Department spokesman Art Kohn.

A fire breaks through the roof of an apartment building on Chantilly Court in the Hilltop area of Virginia Beach on January 22, 2020. (Photo via Nicole Mallet Michaud)

No serious injuries were reported, but two residents were taken to the hospital with burns to their feet.

One firefighter was also injured by falling debris, but was protected by his helmet. He was treated at the scene and was able to go back to fighting the fire.

Paratusic was one of the residents taken to the hospital.

“I burned it on the, from the debris,” he said. “I tried to jump over to the steps to see if I could go get something last-second but I burned my toe a little, just a little bit.”

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