Fire at Norfolk senior living community believed to be arson

Michael Baine.png
Posted at 4:24 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 17:28:50-04

NORFOLK, Va.— Officials say an apartment fire at a Norfolk senior living complex Tuesday afternoon was no accident.

The Norfolk Fire Marshal’s Office arrested 29-year-old Michael Baine. He’s charged with arson and domestic assault on a family member.

Firefighters were called to the Cromwell House apartments Tuesday around 12:30 p.m.

The fire was contained to one apartment. Two people were reportedly taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

“At first I didn’t think it was anything because we have fire alarms now and then but then I started smelling that smoke and I realized something was going on,” said Susan Williams.

The Norfolk Fire Department says 18 people were displaced because of smoke and water damage, including Douglas Garrett.

Garrett says he is temporarily staying at a motel until Thursday and has to deal with replacing smoke-damaged furniture.

“I just gotten myself back on my feet and I was improving,” said Garrett. "To have everything messed up like it is it’s almost like I have to start over again."

He says the hallway quickly filled with black smoke that eventually funneled into his apartment.

Meanwhile, Williams who is on oxygen says she can’t take the smell.

Neighbors say Baine was staying at the apartment with his mother but there are no further details on how or why the fire broke out.