Gas explosion investigated at vacant building

Scene of possible explosion on 15th Street in Va. Beach on July 31, 2014. (Photo courtesy Brad Capps)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Virginia Beach fire investigators confirmed a gas explosion caused a fire in Virginia Beach Thursday morning.

Photos: Explosion investigated in Va. Beach

Firefighters were called to a vacant building on 15th Street just before 7 a.m. when neighbors heard the explosion, according to Battalion Chief Tracy Freeman with the Virginia Beach Fire Department.

“It sounded like  a car accident, like a big boom and glass, so I opened my door, and I saw this flame and black smoke and called 911,” said nearby resident Tiffany.

Watch: Viewer video of explosion and fire

One person was injured in a next-door building due to flying glass, Freeman said. He said the explosion sparked a fire, which crews were able to quickly get under control. spoke with the owner of the building, Kwang Choi.  He had just finished a three-year renovation there and received his initial occupancy permit earlier this week.

Choi said he had the gas and water turned on to meet the city inspection and indicated problems with gas appliances in a potion of the building: “So I called the repairman and he was tied up with his schedule, so I did schedule it for tomorrow the earliest time.”

Video: Interview with Bat. Chief Freeman

Freeman told WAVY News they are still trying to figure out what ignited the explosion. Crews did learn a squatter had been there overnight.

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