Norfolk apartment complex near ODU evacuated after fire, electrical problems; 198 displaced

Posted at 6:18 PM, Mar 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 15:35:59-04

Norfolk,Va. - What started out as a small fire grew into a larger problem at the District Apartments in Norfolk located in the 1000 block of W. 39th Street. Officials say 198 students were displaced. The building was shut down on Monday evening and now students are trying to return to their apartments.

On Tuesday, students were outside of the management office waiting to get access to their rooms.

Initially, calls came in about a fire with a pan of food at 3:15 p.m. on Monday evening.

When crews arrived, they saw smoke coming from the 4th floor. They found a small pan of food on fire in one of the units.

The sprinkler system activated and put the fire out. Once the fire was out, the system was still discharging and crews had to work to get it shut down.

The water got into one of the electrical closets, which caused electrical issues.

Fire crews escorted tenants into the building one-by-one so they could gather some belongings for the night.

"Working, school, all of that piled up on top of this is a lot," says Alexis Mclean, an ODU student living at The District. "It's a lot to deal with."

After students gathered their belongings, many of them told NewsChannel 3 that they did not know where to go next.

"Luckily I'm done with classes but we're still being forced to evacuate for the night, that's very annoying," says Jennifer Preville, an ODU student living at The District. "We haven't even been told where we're going to stay."

The District says they do not have any plans to let anyone out of their leases. The property says they are doing everything they can to restore the units and allow residents to return home.

The property is now providing housing arrangements to those students who need it.