17 people displaced by Oceanfront condo fire

Image credit: Virginia Beach Fire Department

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — At least 17 people were displaced by a two-alarm condo fire at the Oceanfront on Thursday.

The fire was reported around 11:20 a.m. at 11th Street and Lake Drive, at the Summer’s Point Condominium, which is just off Pacific Avenue. Crews got to the scene within five minutes and found heavy smoke and flames coming from the roofs of two end units.

“It is just horrifying,” said Angie Gibson. “I couldn’t believe it was happening… The whole back side was just engulfed. It was just flames probably 20 feet tall.”

As residents rushed out of their apartments, there was a bang.

“There was a huge explosion like a grill had exploded,” Gibson added. “Boom! Everybody started screaming and running towards the street.”

Within 20 minutes of being on scene, fire officials called a second alarm.

Two ladder trucks responded to douse water on the roof in an effort to beat down the fire so firefighters could make their way inside. Five engine companies and a heavy rescue unit also responded. It took well over an hour to get the fire under control, fire officials said.

Gallery: Condo fire in Virginia Beach

The wind didn’t help.

“It spread very fast, because of wind and fire,” resident Ioanna Roberto said.

Charlie Turner and his wife are among the displaced residents. He spoke to 10 On Your Side while gazing at his damaged condo. “We have a lifetime of memories [there],” he said.

Turner had been at a doctor’s appointment when he received a call about the fire. He grew emotional recounting the fear he felt for his neighbors, once arriving home.

“Our downstairs neighbors were okay, and when I found that out, that’s when I started crying,” he said. “Because they just had a baby, first of the year, and I worried about them.”

Fortunately, there were no injuries reported. Fire officials said that most people weren’t home when the flames broke out. Two pets were initially reported missing, but were recovered.

Twelve units had heavy smoke and fire damage. Other units had mostly water damage and some broken glass. There was a partial roof collapse on the third floor of the end units, fire department spokesman Art Kohn said during a Facebook live video.

“It’s devastating,” Jerry Ehlers said. “It’s a big mess.”

“It’s terrible,” added Sue Ehlers. “If they have families near by they can live with their families, but I have no idea what they are going to do. How long it is going to take?”

The Red Cross is supporting the displaced residents.

Pacific Avenue was shut down for about four hours, but has since reopened.

Fire officials continue to investigate what caused the fire.

Stay with WAVY.com for updates on this developing story.