NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Norfolk Fire Marshal says a suspect has been arrested and charged in connection to a massive fire that destroyed a Norfolk home Wednesday.
59-year-old McKinley ‘Mack’ Scott was taken into custody in the area of Colonial Avenue and West 20th Street Thursday. Norfolk Fire Battalion Chief Williamson says he’s been charged with one count of arson to an unoccupied dwelling and two counts of threatening to burn.
Norfolk Fire-Rescue crews responded to the residential fire on Billings Street, off of Tidewater Drive, around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Engine Company-1 could see the smoke from their station on St. Paul’s Boulevard. When firefighters arrived, the two-story home was fully engulfed in flames, according to a news release.
Lisa Davis, who says she owns the home with her husband, says Scott is a family friend.
Davis says her husband and Scott got into a verbal argument just a couple hours before strong flames reduced her home to a pile of burnt wood.
“At this point, I don’t know what to think. I am confused and hurt,” said Davis. “…What if someone was in the house?”
Several viewers in the area captured images of the fire as crews fought to contain the flames. Fire officials tweeted Wednesday afternoon that the fire damaged several other homes, but they said there were no injuries reported.
Marcus Elston, who witnessed the fire, told WAVY.com he was at Doumar’s Cones & Barbecue when he saw the smoke and drove to the fire scene.
“It was crazy because it looked like the flames were just on the front part of the house and it was like all of a sudden, the whole house went up at once,” said Elston.
Dana Griffin was headed home from Richmond and also spotted the smoke.
“It’s unbelievable how fast it went up, because initially it looked like the fire was confined to one or two rooms upstairs and within five minutes or less it engulfed the second floor, the balcony and the lower floor.”
In all, about 35 firefighters responded to the call. Officials say it took almost an hour before they deemed the fire under control.
Dominion Virginia Power also responded to secure electrical power lines.
Smoke from the fire could be seen from the WAVY Tower Cam in Portsmouth Wednesday afternoon.