Dozens displaced in Ocean View apartment fire; community church steps in to help those in need

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Posted at 1:09 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 23:10:10-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Crews responded to a large fire Monday afternoon in the Ocean View area of the city.

A call about the fire came into officials just before noon, and it was in the area of Pleasant Ave and 9th Bay Street.

The fire was on the first and second floors of the apartment building and spread to the attic area. Fire officials said wind conditions caused the fire to escalate, quickly destroying 75% of the roof.

No injuries have been reported at this time, officials said.

Crews were trying to get everyone to evacuate and to attack the fire from the outside.

Twelve units (all in that particular building) have been deemed "unsound," and all 30 occupants have been displaced.

Roads in the area including Pleasant Ave., and 10th Bay Street, 9th Bay Street and East Ocean View Ave., were blocked off.

Nudia Hall lives in one of the bottom units of the complex.

“We looked outside and the whole side was engulfed in flames," she recalled. “I already lost my job and everything, so with this happening it’s a little rough.”

Simone Felton also lives in the complex. She said the fire "traveled all the way down the building."

Some residents were able to go inside and recover some of their belongings. While they did that, crews boarded up any open space.

Even with most of the building now covered with boards, one neighbor nearby says their doors will always be open.

“We are standing by for all those who need help, we are still going to be here for them," said Rosa Williams, a church leader at the Christ Believers Fellowship Church.

She says it's a miracle no one got hurt.

But many people, like Felton, will have to start over.

“I can barely find anything because it’s so much debris," Felton said.

Felton came to the Christ Believers Fellowship for some hot food because she's now without a place to make her meals. She also came for support.

“I don't have family or bothers or sisters to come help me. It’s just me by myself," she said.

The church family doesn't want anyone to feel alone.

“We are here to help the community! Ocean View community, period," Williams said.

They want people to know they're here to help.

“Don’t worry; God got you.”

Christ Believers Fellowship is accepting food, clothes and other donations for the victims of the fire. Their doors will be open Tuesday, and they're located right off of 9th Bay Street.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.