CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Old Buckingham Station Apartments have caught on fire numerous times over the years.
The latest fire erupted on Saturday afternoon. Forty firefighters responded to the scene on the 12000 block of Buckingham Station Drive around 2 p.m for a report of an apartment fire.
“There’s been three major fires in the last ten years there,” said Cliff Bradshaw, who has moved to New York after the fire. “I was like, oh jeez, I didn’t know that!”
The first fire at Old Buckingham station happened on May 19, 1995, and caused 100 people to lose their homes. Nearly 60 apartment units were destroyed. While no one was severely injured, the fire damages totaled $4.4 million.
Upon inspection of the 1995 fire, authorities said they found four fire-code violations.
8News is working to confirm fires that took place in 1997 and 2010.
In the most recent fire, 35 people lost their homes and 19 units were affected, Chesterfield Fire Lt. Jason Elmore said. Two cats died and one dog was rescued.
Tenants told 8News they are questioning if the complex had the correct safety measures in place, given its history with fires. They also said they had to get renters insurance before moving in.
One resident told 8News they did not see sprinklers activated while the fire was spreading through the apartment building.
“The fire had already started. There was smoke going up the staircase, things falling off the building,” Bo Brown said. “The place was already on fire at that point. The sprinklers hadn’t kicked on at that point … I don’t know if they ever did.”
Brown is among the tenants who were affected by the fire.
The American Red Cross is helping families get back on their feet. Some tenants — including Brown — are staying at the DoubleTree Hotel as they adjust to life away from home during the holidays.
“They’ve provided accommodations for us to at least transition,” Brown said. “Whether that’s back into another apartment there or somebody leaves.”
8News reached out to the apartment complex’s owner — General Services Operation — for a comment, but we have not heard back.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Stay with 8News for updates.