Fire at two-story duplex in Norfolk displaces 7 people

Two women and a child escaped a fire at a two-story duplex on West 28th Street Monday, May 15, 2017, according Norfolk Fire-Rescue officials. Credit: Norfolk Fire-Rescue.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Seven people were displaced by a fire Monday morning at a two-story duplex in Norfolk.

Norfolk Fire-Rescue officials said crews were called to the fire in the 200 block of West 28th Street just after 10 a.m. The first units on scene found smoke at the back of the duplex. The three occupants who were home at the time — two women and a child — were out of the house when firefighters arrived.

Gallery: Norfolk fire displaces 7

10 On Your Side viewer Timothy Keyser said he was steps away when it all started.

“It was definitely a panic situation.”

Keyser said he was next door, working on a different house that caught fire a few months ago, when he heard something.

“A lady next door ran out and she was jumping in her car and she yelled, ‘Someone call 911. The back of my house is on fire,’ and immediately we went around the back and called 911.”

He recorded cell phone video.

“The video shows the fire spreading from the rear of the house to the inside of the back of the house through the top of the roof, so it engulfed inside the house. The wind was blowing so it accelerated the fire,” Keyser said.

Officials said the fire spread to the second story of the home. The home was deemed uninhabitable due to fire and smoke damage on the first and second floors.

Crews brought the fire under control around 11:15 a.m.

The Red Cross was called to assist the seven displaced occupants. No one was hurt in the fire.

“It was a miracle. If they didn’t catch it in time, another five or 10 minutes, they could have been worse,” Keyser said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Firefighters said a resident told them she did not hear the smoke alarms sounding in the home. A man who identified himself as the property manager told 10 On Your Side Monday afternoon that the house had working alarms on the first floor, but that he was in the process of replacing the second floor alarms. The residents would have May rent and a deposit returned to them and he was working to help them find new housing, he said.