2 taken to hospital after 2-alarm fire at Norfolk retirement community

Posted at 10:24 PM, Sep 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-26 18:42:14-04

NORFOLK, Va. - A local apartment complex was evacuated after a fire Wednesday night.

Firefighters with Norfolk Fire-Rescue responded to the Stonebridge Manor Apartments on Tidewater Drive around 8:40 p.m. It is a retirement community.

Units arrived to find smoke and flames coming from the balcony of a third-floor apartment.

Crews requested a second alarm to help with attacking the fire and getting residents out of the building.

The fire was placed under control at 9:15 p.m.

Norfolk Fire Chief Damon Langley tells News two people were taken to the hospital and have been released.

Langley says one person had burns on their knees. The second person had an asthma attack that was brought on from a panic attack because of the fire.

Langley says six apartments are uninhabitable largely because of water damage.

Investigators found the building to be in good working condition.

Denise Brooks says her red umbrella is the only thing that stopped the flames from falling on while she was sitting on her balcony.

"I jumped up out of my chair and I said, 'Oh my God.'"

The flames were coming from the apartment above her. Brooks ran upstairs to check on the couple that lives upstairs. She says they had no idea there was a fire.

"He gets up and he tries to put the fire out, she says, ‘No, we got to go.'"

Smoke began to fill the halls. Many people rushed to make sure their neighbors were getting out safely.

In the midst of shock, Brooks says she was able to find moments of clarity to make a quick-thinking decision that may have saved lives: Pulling the fire alarm.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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