Norfolk residents seen jumping from condo building to escape large fire

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Posted at 6:05 AM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 09:10:54-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Fire crews responded to a report of a condo fire around 3:05 a.m. Thursday at Delaware Avenue and Mayflower Road in the Colonial Place neighborhood.

Upon arrival, firefighters found visible flames coming from the structure, and six units on one side of the building were fully engulfed. A firewall saved condos on other side of building, but heat damage persists with surrounding buildings.

Residents were seen jumping out of second and third story windows. Two people who jumped out of a third floor window were sent to a local hospital. Three others were evaluated at the scene and released.

Eddie Whitfield was trapped on the second floor behind a wall of flames pouring into his home.

Whitfield cried out for help, hoping someone would come to his rescue. Like a miracle, Whitfield’s neighbor above suspended a ladder near his window so they could all climb down to safety. He says he fell on the way.

"Somehow I lost balance, somehow, and I fell, and when I fell back, I fell on the ground; I was unconscious," he explained.

Nearby vehicles caught fire.

The cause of the fire has not been determined yet as the fire marshal’s office has started the investigation.

After a preliminary search for more victims, a second search was needed because floors had collapsed down on each other, the assistant fire chief said.

Firefighters completed a final search and found that all occupants had been accounted for. No additional injuries were reported.

Eight people have been assisted by Red Cross.

Crews remained on scene taking out hot spots throughout the building as the fire marshal works to determine cause of the fire.

The fire marshal said that it is uncommon to get these fires, but when they do, everybody comes together. They had about 50 firefighters on scene and had help from Chesapeake and Virginia Beach backfilling some of the stations from Norfolk because a lot of resources from Norfolk were at the active scene.

Click here to support survivors of this large fire.