NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Norfolk Fire-Rescue crews watched for hot spots and began to clean up Sunday morning after a massive fire tore through four condominium and apartment buildings on Willoughby Spit Saturday evening.
“They said pack something. I threw my purse in the car, the cats are the only other thing I care about. Everything else can be replaced,” said Carolanne Ventura, who watched as more than 60 firefighters tried to save her home.
Firefighters rescued several people from the buildings. One man went to the hospital for smoke inhalation, according to fire officials.
The first call to the 1200 block of West Ocean View Avenue came in around 7:00 p.m., according to Battalion Chief Julian Williamson.
Norfolk firefighters worked with the Navy Regional Fire-Rescue team to get the blaze under control around 9:00 p.m., Williamson said, but it wasn’t until 11:00 p.m. that the main body of the fire was knocked out.
Norfolk Fire has main body of the fire knocked down at the Oceanview fire.There were four condo/ apartment structures on fire.
— Norfolk Fire-Rescue (@norfolkfireresc) February 14, 2016
The department initially struggled with low water pressure, which was later fixed.
Freezing conditions persisted throughout the night, which caused equipment to ice up and surfaces to become slippery, according to Williamson.
At 9:00 p.m., Super Doppler 10 Meteorologist Ashley Baylor reported crews were working in 24-degree weather with 10 mile per hour winds, making the outside temperature feel like 14-degrees.
“The fire ripped through, moved pretty fast, and it was driven by the wind,” he said.
The Red Cross is assisting approximately 30 families, and opened the East Ocean View Community Center for those displaced by the massive fire from noon until 6 p.m. today at 611 W. Brambleton Ave. in Norfolk. The center is open for residents impacted by this fire requiring assistance. Residents need to bring proof of residency.
Neighbors who live near the scene of the fire are being kept from their homes as a precaution. Norfolk Fire-Rescue worked with Hampton Roads Transit to bus displaced people to a nearby recreation center for shelter.
Norfolk Fire-Rescue is asking anyone who was affected by the fire in the 1200 block of West Ocean View to call (757) 441-5610.
Dominion Power had to cut power to 1400 costumers to assist with the firefighters. Power was restored around 11:30 p.m.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.