Fire Marshal: Virginia Beach apartment complex fire caused by cigarette butts

Posted at 4:32 PM, May 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-20 18:08:36-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - Crews battled a massive, two-alarm fire at the Legends at the Beach apartment complex in Virginia Beach on Hunters Chase Drive Tuesday evening. Twenty-three people were displaced.

A Fire Marshal said Wednesday that the fire was ruled accidental and was caused by cigarette butts on the balcony of a first floor unit.

Crews say 16 units were affected in the fire.

Fire crews arrived at around 4 p.m. Tuesday and found heavy smoke showing from the building. They started fighting the fire on the outside of the building and then moved to fight flames inside.

Flames reached as high as 20 feet in the air and the roof of the building was destroyed.

No injuries were reported and everyone has been accounted for in the building.

Fire crews returned to the scene on Wednesday to escort residents into their units to see if they could find anything salvageable.

There was even a happy reunion after one firefighter found a cat alive in a unit. It was reunited with its owners who had thought it had died in the fire.

American Red Cross disaster volunteers are supporting 3 adults displaced by the fire.

"We are providing the families with a safe place to stay and assisting them with their immediate needs," said Red Cross Executive Director, Lorri Powers. "We will continue to work with the families over the coming days to guide them as they continue the recovery process."