VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – 11 people were displaced following a two-alarm fire in the 3300 block of Boynton Court, Sunday afternoon that was started by unattended cooking oil.
According to Virginia Beach Fire PIO Art Kohn, the call came in at 1:23 p.m for the fire. Within ten minutes of units being on scene, the fire became a two-alarm fire and extra units were called in to help contain the growing fire fueled by gusty winds.
Two buildings on the adjacent street suffered exterior damage from the extreme heat coming from the burning units on Boynton Ct. The damage to the buildings on the adjacent street mostly consisted of burnt siding.
All 10-units from two buildings in the neighborhood were affected by the fire. Most of the serious damage was done to the units on Boynton Ct. A number of sheds and privacy fences behind the units were also damaged by the fire
The fire was declared under control at 1:49 p.m. The Red Cross is assisting those families that were displaced by the fire. Officials say the unattended cooking oil was left on cooking equipment on the patio of a middle unit.
Neighbors say they saw smoke and flames from their back windows before rushing out to warn others.
“The patio that had a grill going on it, I knocked on his door first to let him know it was on fire. He ran back inside to try to put it out,” says displaced resident Patricia Hughes.
Hughes says she’s lived on Boynton Court since 1988 and the community is close knit. It’s one of the reasons why she and others began knocking on neighbors doors. Jeylan Holmes, whose family is also displaced, says he was upstairs getting ready for work when the fire started.
“All I hear is banging on the doors. I thought it was kids making a joke. I went downstairs. They said fire! Get out!,” Holmes says.
Hughes says the fire is just another blow to their community which is still reeling from Hurricane Matthew.
“We’re just getting over the flood, the flood insurance. We’re just getting the house repaired,” she says.
Residents say they were able to salvage a few things but much was damaged in the fire.
They say they’re grateful no one was injured.
“I’m devastated but everyone got out. I’m happy about that,” Hughes says.