FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The Red Cross of Virginia is currently supporting over 140 people who were displaced after a multi-level senior apartment complex fire overnight.
Shortly before 10 p.m., ambulances responded to the 2600 block of Cowan Road in Fredericksburg after medical alarms were triggered at the address.
Since the address caters to residents over 55 years old, calls like this were not entirely unusual, according to Fredericksburg Fire Chief Michael Jones.
Upon arrival, the first ambulance noticed a haze of smoke coming from the roofline.
(Courtesy of Red Cross Virginia)
A Fire Battalion Chief in the area responded to the call and, upon his arrival a minute later, saw black smoke coming from the roofline, indicating that the fire threat had been elevated.
All other on-duty Fredericksburg fire forces were called to the area as well as units from both Stafford and Spotsylvania counties.
During his evaluation, the Fire Battalion Chief noticed fire coming from the rear of the building around the attic space.
Multiple hose lines were stretched up the stairwells as crews began attacking the fire from the fourth-floor apartments under the fire in the attic. Meanwhile, police and medical crews helped evacuate residents, eventually moving them to the parking area outside to get a headcount.
It took firefighters around 35 to 45 minutes for the bulk of the fire to be extinguished. It then took several more hours to overhaul the fire area, check for any fire extension and conduct a secondary search of the affected wings for any residents that may not have left.
At the height of the fire, there were approximately 45 firefighters on the scene, according to Fire Chief Jones.
AERIAL VIEW: Photos above the Madonna House at Belmont building this morning after the fire was extinguished
Half of the structure was deemed livable. The residents from these sections were allowed to return to their apartments around 3:30 a.m. The other residents were moved to area hotels with the assistance of Fredericksburg Social Services and the American Red Cross.
As far as officials are aware, there have been no civilian deaths or injuries because of the incident. Two firefighters sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene.
An investigation is underway by the Fire Marshall’s Office. They are currently working at the scene and have not yet determined what caused the fire.