Investigators tell 8News they found a body inside the Richmond warehouse that went up in flames overnight.
Fire crews responded to the blaze on S. Thurman Street, off Jefferson Davis Highway in the city’s southside, at around 2:30 a.m. When they arrived, they found smoke coming out of an open door and flames engulfing the building.
The fire was so bad when crews got on scene that firefighters had to start defensive operations from the outside of a building. A second alarm also had to be called to help battle the flames.
While 8News was on scene, fire crews said they heard what sounded like an explosion, and then the power went out on the entire block of Jefferson Davis Highway.
Officials said the fire was 80 percent contained at around 5 a.m. At some point during their investigation, a body was located inside the building.
The cause of death, and the fire, are both under investigation.
“It’s really sad. I was hoping there was no loss of life,” said Sian Smith, who lives in an apartment near the warehouse.
“I spoke with the leasing agent and she told me that the building next to us…that there was an explosion that happened last night.”
Smith said firefighters were still on scene when she was moving in Friday afternoon.
“The police officers, the firefighters going back and forth, a ton of water and just the charred building. If I had really long arms, I could reach out and touch it. That’s how close I am.
“If I had been here, it would have been very, very scary and potentially dangerous”
Lt. Chris Armstrong, of Richmond Fire, says the fire and the body that was found are being investigated.
“It was found in a separate part of the building from where the fire started,” Lt. Armstrong said.
Sian Smith hopes the fire was an isolated incident and not a reoccurring.
“I want to think it was just a freak accident, but until we find out what happened, you have to keep an open mind about it.”
Stay with 8News for updates to this developing story.