CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- One person suffered life-threatening injuries and three police officers suffered smoke inhalation during a motel fire in Chesterfield County Sunday night.
Fire crews were called to the Interstate Inn, along the 2100 block of Indian Hill Road, at about 10:35 p.m.
Firefighters and police officers went door to door alerting people about the fire and getting them out.
Tamara Ingram was staying in one of the units, visiting a friend, and said she was just watching TV and getting ready for bed at the time.
“Next thing you know we hear banging on the door and hear cops yelling, 'Police. Get out. There’s a fire. There’s a fire,’”, said Ingram, who added then when she opened the door the smell of smoke was overwhelming.
"As soon as that hit me I was, like, OK, it’s time to go. This is real. We have to get out of here,” said Ingram.
One woman who was staying at a motel across the street
"We saw the flames just above the building. All you saw is the top floor just flames coming out of one of the rooms,” said the woman, who did not want to give her name. "The flames were so high. I really thought the place was a goner. I thought it was just going to burn to the ground."
For Ingram, she says she has new found respect for the work of first responders who got people out safely and quickly.
"They really did their jobs," said Ingram.
While the fire was contained to just one room, 34 motel residents (including seven children) were forced from the building due to damage related to the fire.
A fire department spokesperson added that much of the motel should be able to be reoccupied, but the question of when will be up to county building inspectors.
The owners of the motel were helping those people find a new place to live.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.