Norfolk apartment building evacuated for hazmat situation

Liz Kilmer/WAVY

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A hazmat situation that led to the evacuation of more than 30 people at an apartment building has been contained, officials said.

Fire officials were called to the Bayview Terrace Apartments off of Tidewater Drive shortly after 7 p.m. Monday. The call initially came in for a possible gas leak.

“At first there was two fire trucks, they came in, and we was like ‘what’s going on?'” said witness Richard Cannon. “Somebody said they smelled gas, and then out of the blue, there comes four, five hazmat teams, bomb trucks… we like, ‘this is more than gas!'”

After investigating, fire officials said the matter relates to chemicals inside of a home. The chemicals began giving off gas, prompting the call. Officials said the incident does not appear criminal, and that the resident of the unit in question is fully cooperating with investigators.

Hazmat teams, bomb squad units, police, fire and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management are on scene assisting. Dominion crews shutoff the building’s electric.

The Norfolk Bomb Squad utilized a robot to enter the building. At 11 p.m., officials said the matter was contained, but the building remained evacuated.

In total, 24 adults and seven children had to leave the building in question, located right along Tidewater Drive. The northbound side of the 8500 block of Tidewater Drive remained closed off as of 11 p.m.

Officials expected at least some families to be able to return to their apartments by the end of the night. Six people were provided shelter elsewhere.

There have been no reports of injuries.

Cannon and his family members were at his father-in-law’s home for a Memorial Day picnic when they were evacuated.

“We just sitting here waiting to find out how long it’s gonna be.”

The family is concerned about one relative who is on an oxygen machine. Her extra tanks are reportedly inside their evacuated home.

The Red Cross provided water and snacks to the evacuated residents on-scene.

Stay tuned to for updates.