Chesapeake home fire ruled suicide

Photo courtesy: Kenneth Martin Jr.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A body was discovered inside a burning house in the South Norfolk area of Chesapeake Thursday afternoon. Police have ruled it a suicide, but they have not said how the fire started.

Police have also not released any information on the victim of the fire. However, the homeowner and multiple neighbors confirm the victim is a woman in her 70s who was living at the home in the 1300 block of Hoover Avenue for a few months.

“I ran back, put my shoes on, my boots on so I could help come kick the door down,” said Erica Smith, who lives across the street from the house that burned. “But, by the time I came back, it was so much fire and so much smoke I couldn’t get in there.”

Smith said she could hear the victim yelling for help from within the house. Another neighbor said he was on the phone with emergency dispatchers, who were urging him not to enter the burning house.

“I could have had time enough to get in there to save the lady,” said Melton Bynum.

Firefighters couldn’t enter the house until the flames were extinguished. Upon entering, they located the victim.

The homeowner told WAVY she did not know how the fire started. She said the victim was living with her on a temporary basis as she didn’t have a home, and isn’t believed to have family in the area. She said the victim had a bird that was also lost in the fire.

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