After receiving waivers from the City of Chesapeake last week, officials and staff of the Chesapeake Crossing Seniors Apartment Community were able to enter many of the apartments affected by a deadly fire on Saturday, July 15.
Apartment units were destroyed or damaged in three of the five buildings comprising the complex. Repairs to the remaining two buildings not damaged by fire were begun to allow those residents to return to their homes.
Residents who lost their apartments in the fire are being allowed to return to retrieve their salvageable items as their replacement housing needs are being evaluated.
Wood panels have been constructed to cover burned areas destroyed by the four-alarm fire on July 15 at around 4 a.m. The area remains blocked off where the damage occurred.
Many residents are crediting their neighbors for sounding the alarm in the early morning hours by running from door to door shouting “Fire”, Get Out.”
It was later determined the cause of the fire was a lightening strike to one or more of the buildings.
Three people died in the tragedy and several people, including a firefighter, were transported to the hospital was a lightening strike.
Chesapeake Fire Department said they were called to the blazing fire shortly after 4:30 a.m. on Saturday morning and arrived six minutes later.
When the fire was brought under control shortly before 7 a.m., three of the five apartment buildings in the complex had been destroyed, with the most damage on the third floors of the buildings. Apartments on the second floor were less affected by the fire but suffered water damage while first floor apartments may be the least affected.
There is no fire alarm system at the complex other than attached to the sprinkler system. However, the building’s owner, Boyd Homes, has pointed out the company was in compliance with the fire code which did not require it to be equipped with a fire alarm system.
Beginning Tuesday, July 25, First Atlantic Restoration began to work with the complex’s owner to pack up salvageable items from the residents’ apartments that were given waivers and move them to a fenced staging area in the parking lot for retrieval.
Anyone affected by the fire may visit the phase 3 clubhouse at 1925 Robert Hall Blvd. between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or Email a request to RobertHall@BoydHomes.com.
Victims of the tragedy drew support from The Red Cross and the City of Chesapeake which organized and operated a Disaster Resource Center. Residents also had access to additional help for food, clothing, mental health services, legal aid, and medical assistance. The nearby New Galilee Baptist Church provided help as well.
Boyd Homes has been operating a Call Center and Command Center for residents to have a place to inquire about assistance or information they need since the tragedy.