NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - An apartment in a senior-citizen community caught fire in Norfolk on Saturday.
Battalion Chief Julian Williamson with the Norfolk Fire Rescue confirmed that there was a high-rise apartment fire in the 2400 bock of East Virginia Beach Boulevard around 5:20 p.m. Saturday.
"I was in my apartment looking at the t.v. and the smoke alarm went off," said resident Vanessa Onyrirmba. "Normally when the smoke alarm goes off we have to go in the stairwell, until they give us the all clear."
This time would be the real thing. Residents told WAVY.com smoke quickly filled the third floor of the 11-story apartment complex.
"There was a lot of smoke," resident Vaulette Jones said. "The smoke was coming out of the window, and everybody was sitting out here. We said, 'Oh Lord look at this smoke coming out.'"
Residents rushed to alert others about the fire, and helped those who could not get out.
"The alarms went off, and the maintenance man was knocking on the doors to make sure everybody was out," said resident Doreen. "I was trying to get all the senior citizens off the floor, and bring them down stairs."
Fire control units responded to the scene within three minutes of the call and found residents evacuating the structure. Firefighters located and put out the fire in an apartment's kitchen.
Dozens of residents had to wait outside in the heat while firefighters worked to put out the blaze. While the wait was harder on some more than others, all agree they're thankful this situation wasn't worse.
"We made it out safely," Doreen said. "Thank God we made it out safely."
There were no serious injuries. One female was evaluated, but refused transport to the hospital, and a man was transported to be evaluated at a hospital.
The Red Cross will help one resident of the complex find housing for Sunday and Monday while the facility's management works to find a new unit for him/her.
Investigators have not released an official cause for the fire, but witnesses told 10 On Your Side that a resident was cooking on the third floor, went to store and forget to turn off the stove off.
The apartment that caught fire is part of a senior-citizen and disabled-citizen independent-living community called Cogic Highrise Apartments . The apartment complex is a non-profit housing facility, subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development.
Stay with WAVY for updates on this developing story.
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