VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – 10 On Your Side is learning more about the people involved in an apartment fire on Chesapeake’s Sparrow Road over the weekend.
Friends say the victims lost everything. Now, the friends are doing all they can to help them get back on their feet.
A local animal rescue organization is coordinating some of the efforts because a volunteer with the organization was impacted.
Crews say they arrived to find fire coming from three sides of the building.
It took more than 30 minutes to get the blaze under control. The damage was significant.
Piles of personal belongings now sit on the ground outside the apartment complex.
“At the moment it looks like a total loss,” said Becca Ostman, Founder of Billy the Kidden Rescue.
Two people had to jump from a second story window to escape.
Thomas Bill lived there, but was at work when the fire started. He lost everything, including three cats.
Bill’s roommate and his girlfriend were in the ICU after the fire.
“They both went back in to try and rescue his cats and that’s how they got injured,” Ostman said.
Although Bill was too shaken up to speak on camera, Ostman did want to talk about what happened.
“When they brought the cats out of the house, he didn’t want to leave his babies there in the yard, so he just had his passed cats in the back of his car,” Ostman said.
She founded Billy the Kidden Rescue in 2014. Bill has volunteered with the group for the last year and a half.
“He’s a wonderful gem and an addition to the world, and it’s so sad when you see horrible things like this happen to people that put nothing but positive energy into the universe,” Ostman said.
While they’ll replace things inside the home, the pets can’t be.
But the organization plans to fulfill at least one dream of getting bill the Sphynx cat he’s always wanted.
“When he’s ready and he’s had his mourning period of his 3 that he lost that we will be getting him a kitty,” Ostman said.
Several organizations are now jumping in to help.
The Hampton Roads Beard and ‘Stache Society is hosting a Beer Auction Event on February 20 at 80 20 Burger Bar from 6 – 9 p.m.
A GoFundMe page for Thomas Bill has already surpassed the fundraising goal.
There are also fundraising pages set up to help the other victims impacted by the fire, including Shawn Williams and Hope Bateman. Bill’s friends tell 10 On Your Side that Bateman was renting in the front part of the house.