NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A woman was arrested after Norfolk crews battled a two-alarm fire Wednesday morning at a Dollar Tree.
Fire crews were called to the store in the 7600 block of Granby Street around 7:57 a.m. When firefighters got to the scene, they reported seeing smoke showing from inside the store. Dollar Tree employees told crews that there was a fire in an aisle toward the back of the store.
When firefighters entered the building, they encountered smoke and high heat conditions. Ceiling tiles and other parts of the building were falling down as the fire intensified.
Crews began fighting the fire from inside the store, quickly noticed how dangerous the situation was and rushed back outside. A second alarm was requested and Norfolk Fire Marshals were called to the scene as well.
Firefighters evacuated several nearby businesses.
David Anderson said he was nearby when the fire started.
“It looked real dangerous. I hear like a ‘kaboom’…When I saw the people running out, I thought it was a robbery. I never saw the flames until I looked really up. I saw the smoke and flames,” he said.
Fire crews began attacking the blaze from outside and strategically positioned three ladder trucks around the building.
Meanwhile, Fire Marshals interviewed witnesses at the scene. Marshals developed a person of interest in the case and about 30 minutes later, she was charged with arson to an occupied dwelling. Fire officials identified the suspect as 30-year-old Alexis Carr.
“Arson, that’s a very dangerous crime. That’s something that you definitely should not be doing. Yes, it is costly for the city, but my biggest concern is that someone could be injured or killed committing a heinous act such as that,” Battalion Chief Julian Williamson said.
As fire conditions began improving outside the building, crews returned indoors to continue battling the blaze. The fire was marked under control at 10:48 a.m. Flames did not spread to any other buildings.
About 54 Norfolk firefighters responded to the scene. One firefighter was taken to a local hospital to be evaluated.
Fire crews tried to minimize damage to the things inside the store. Dominion Energy was called to the scene to turn off electrical service for the store since it sustained heavy fire damage inside. Because of the damage, the Dollar Tree will not be open for business.
WAVY News left a message with a spokesperson for Dollar Tree.
Stay tuned for updates to this developing story.