Survivor jumps to safety from second-floor of burning Chesterfield apartment

Posted at 4:11 AM, Feb 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-11 13:01:28-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. - Five people were taken to the hospital and two people were treated at the scene after a fire damaged the Bellwood Maisonettes apartment complex at 6745 Jefferson Davis Highway in Chesterfield Wednesday morning. One of the injured apartment dwellers jumped from a second-floor apartment to escape the smoke and flames. Two other people escaped from a first floor window.

Photo courtesy of Eric Milliner

Photo courtesy of Eric Milliner

Chesterfield Fire crews were called to the complex at about 3 a.m. When crews arrived, they found heavy fire coming from the roof of one of the buildings.

"Initial 911 calls reported possible occupants trapped and heavy fire conditions in the apartment building. Fire crews arrived to find heavy fire coming from the roof of two-story apartment building," Chesterfield Fire and EMS spokesman Lt. Jason Elmore said. "The fire's intensity drove firefighters out of the building and crews had to use elevated water streams to extinguish the fire. It took crews approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes to get the fire under control."

Fire crews closed Jeff Davis Highway (Route 1) for about three hours while fighting the fire.

The investigation into what started the apartment fire remains on-going Wednesday. The Red Cross is working to help those who lost their apartments to the fire.

"A total of 22 occupants were displaced and are being assisted by Red Cross and apartment management," Lt. Elmore said.  "All occupants have been accounted for by fire and EMS personnel. The apartment building suffered extensive damage to all 14 apartment units."

Tam Malry said his friend was the one who leaped from the second floor.  Malry said his phone was dead, and he went to the apartment to borrow his friend's charger.  When he got there, the building was on fire.

Malry said helped a police officer catch the man as he jumped from the second floor bedroom window.

"I said 'you better get out of there man the whole building's about to go up in smoke!'" said Malry.

Firefighters arrived on scene quickly, according to Malryk, and he thinks that helped save lives.

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