‘I heard no fire alarms’: Chesapeake tenants say they escaped fire because of neighbors, not alarms

Posted at 7:18 PM, Jul 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-18 14:38:12-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Some tenants who live at a senior-living apartment complex said the fire alarms were not working during a massive fire Saturday.

Carolynn Stanton Bell told News 3's Kim Cung she's been trying to get answers from property managers, but hasn't gotten any information. She said during Saturday's fire, her dog alerted her to the fire.

"I heard no fire alarms, no sprinklers going. What I heard was my dog," said Bell.

That's when she looked outside and what she saw terrified her.

“I saw a ball of fire rolling toward our apartments. It was like six or seven apartments from mine," said Bell.

She said she started heading out, but stopped to help other senior citizens living in the apartment complex down the stairs because they normally rely on walkers and wheelchairs.

Bell wasn't the only one who reached out to News 3 about the lack of fire alarms. Another tenant, who asked to remain anonymous, said she didn't hear anything either. A neighbor who lives a few units down banged on her door with a walker and was yelling "fire!" That's when she looked outside her door.

"It was already in a blaze to the point it had burnt down the railings," said the tenant.

A spokesperson with Boyd homes told News 3 after checking with his team, there are fire alarms and they were working during the fire. However, he said they do not have a fire alarm system that is monitored by an external service.


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