3 dead, 6 hurt after fire at Chesapeake senior living complex

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Officials say three people are dead and six are hurt after a four-alarm fire early Saturday morning at a senior living complex.

The three victims of the fire were located in different locations of the complex. Four residents and two firefighters are all in stable condition, according to Capt. Lawrence Matthews, who says the fire took more than two hours to get under control.

Firefighters got called out to the Chesapeake Crossing Apartments on Robert Hall Boulevard at 4:35 a.m. They arrived six minutes later to find smoke coming from the roof of three, three-story buildings at the complex.

“People were knocking on the door saying ‘Chesapeake Police! You need to evacuate.There’s a fire,” said resident Sharon Johnson.

Johnson says she heard a loud boom about 15 minutes before the door knocks but thought nothing of it.

“I could see the fire on the second side, the other side of the building coming towards where I live so I got out,” she said.

Photos: Deadly fire at Chesapeake senior home

Officials say crews got the fire under control by 6:54 a.m. and the buildings are likely a total loss.

“It happened that I wasn’t there and I thank God I wasn’t,” said Al Smith, who lives in an apartment on the top floor.

Smith says he was staying at his girlfriend’s place when he got a call from his son telling him his building was on fire. Smith showed up Saturday afternoon to check on his belongings and his neighbors.

“I’ve seen some of them but some of them aren’t talking. They’re upset because of the shock of what’s happened and it spread so fast,” he said.

Smith is concerned about what will happen to his belongings and so is Johnson. They’re both unsure what is next for them.

“What am I going to do?” Johnson asked.

The Chesapeake Fire Department says there are 144 apartments that are uninhabitable and over 150 residents will be displaced. All residents have been accounted for, according to Capt. Matthews. A Red Cross official said they served about 135 people for lunch and around 80 for dinner.

Indian River High School served as a temporary emergency shelter and closed around 11 p.m. Saturday. After the shelter closed, the City of Chesapeake and Boyd Homes provided 31 residents who could not find other temporary living arrangements with hotel rooms.

Crews from Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Suffolk and Moyock assisted Chesapeake fire crews. If you would like to donate to assist the victims, please visit the United Way of South Hampton Roads’ website. A special fund has been created under the “donate” tab on the site. At this time, donated items are not being accepted, only monetary donations.

Investigators are still working to determine how the fire started.

Family members and friends attempting to locate loved ones may either e-mail RobertHall@BoydHomes.com or call (757) 275-7696 during the hours of 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Stay with WAVY.com for more information on this developing story.