Officials: Large fire at Portsmouth warehouse ruled accidental


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A major fire that burned a warehoue in Portsmouth Thursday evening has been ruled accidental, officials say.

The fire occurred at Marine Environmental Services in the 4000 block of Seaguard Avenue between Airline Boulevard and I-264, according to Portsmouth Fire Rescue & Emergency Services.

A fire department spokesperson said someone at the business tried to jumpstart a forklift with his truck. He walked away for 20 minutes, and came back to find the cables were on fire.

This person tried to extinguish the fire, but could not.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene shortly before 4 p.m., and spent hours battling the fire  

“Upon arrival we found a medium size warehouse that had heavy smoke showing through the roof,” said Jeff Meyer, the EMS Manager.

Crews attacked smoke and flames from a ladder truck water cannon as everyone in the building got out safely.

One homes behind the business was evacuated as a precaution, according Meyers. Initially crews didn’t know what exactly was burning. It was later determined gasoline was involved, but Meyers urges the public is not in danger.

The warehouse in which the fire took place is the home of Marine Environmental Services, according to Meyer. He did not know exactly what they do.

Footage from Chopper 10 shows multiple old cars also on fire and heavy black smoke in the air. A sign on the property gate stated the land was owned by Verbula Properties. Buildings on site date back to the late 1960’s according to public real estate records. 

One firefighter was taken to the hospital in stable condition. What caused the medical emergency was not known.

“With the heat and with the humidity, it’s extremely hard working conditions,” Meyer said. “The men and women today have been working extremely hard with this environment and a lot of credit goes out to them.”

Extra medics were on hand to tend to firefighters and 20 minute on-off shifts were implemented during the height of the blaze.

Fire departments from Norfolk, Chesapeake and Suffolk assisted covering other calls in the city while crews were working the warehouse fire.

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