Storage facility fire in Chesapeake was ‘increasingly difficult’ to extinguish

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A firefighter was injured after dozens of storage units at Extra Space Storage in the northern part of Deep Creek caught fire Saturday night and continued to burn Sunday.

According to Chesapeake Police, the fire started around 9:50 p.m. in the 3200 block of S. Military Highway. 

Approximately 100 storage units have been affected by the fire, Chesapeake Fire officials say.

“These units are about 5×5, 10×20 in size. It would almost be like fighting on hundred bedroom fires so you can imagine the time and effort it takes to go through each one of these storage units,” said Captain Steven Bradley with the Chesapeake Fire Department.

Multiple crews responded to the blaze, attempting to get it under control. Officials say the extreme temperatures and rapidly changing conditions kept firefighters at the scene through Sunday. 

Officials say full extinguishing the fire was difficult because many of the units are packed full of personal belongings. The Department of Public Works assisted in removing large amounts of debris. 

The firefighter who was injured on Saturday was released from Chesapeake General Hospital the next day and is expected to recover, officials say.  

Officials say the fire was brought under control by 3:30 p.m. on Sunday and fully extinguished by 5 p.m. 

The cause of the fire is still undetermined and officials say there are no suspicious factors. 

One young woman in the military told 10 On Your Side she has held her storage unit for more than a year and was planning to take it all out in just a couple of weeks. Now, she says her life and future are on hold.

Melissa Mason had big plans to take the next steps in her life and move into her new home.

“I don’t think words can describe how I’m feeling right now. There is no emotion except for loss,” said Mason.

She went to the storage unit facility on Sunday to see what is left of her future.

“It broke me – you see everything clearer you see a better picture and you can tell your stuff is gone like last night it was a little bit hopeful, maybe it didn’t get this or maybe it didn’t burn that, but it’s gone,” she said.

On Saturday, only 10 On Your Side captured the flames that burned through her memories and priceless keepsakes

“My military uniforms medals, certificates, my son’s first birthday pictures, my grandmother’s stuff that she left me…everything,” Mason explained.

“There is stuff that you can get back, but certain things you can’t. I know her grandmother -things that – she passed away, yesterday was the anniversary of her passing and to know that everything that she gave her is in there and is gone now is hard,” said her sister, Chanelle Deane.

Mason said one of the hardest parts is explaining to her 9-year-old son all of his things and clothes are gone.

“Defeat, loss, I’m trying to remain hopeful, I do have a son, but it’s heartbreaking,” said Mason.

Even the little things. “You know the old Camcorders, no one has that anymore. I did,” she said.

Mason doesn’t know what’s next, but she does know this is the time to look for the light when all you see is darkness.

“I’m grateful that no one was seriously injured and I pray for other families that lost their stuff,” Mason said.

On Monday, investigators were back at the scene trying to determine the cause. The fire does not look to be suspicious, according to Captain Bradley, who said that crews worked hard to put the flames out.

 “They gave 100 percent for several hours. I’m proud of the work they did but it’s a devastating loss for the customers,” he said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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