Fifty residents lost their homes when a three-alarm fire raged in the city of Richmond apartment complex at the 2800 block of Broad Rock Blvd on March 8 at 2158 hours.
"It all began with an initial call for two apartments on fire," said Lt. Shawn Jones, PIO for Richmond Fire and Emergency Services.
Responding to the initial alarm were Quints 23, 21, 20, Engines 17, 22, Rescue 3 and Battalion 3. Richmond Ambulance Authority provided EMS support and Richmond Police Officers assisted with evacuations, traffic and crowd control.
Firefighters arriving on scene discovered multiple apartments on fire, heavy fire and smoke showing and chaos from residents milling around. A second alarm sounded dispatching Quints 13, 6, Engine 12, Rescue 2, Rescue 1 and Battalion 2.
Apartment residents, some in wheelchairs, some elderly, were assisted out of apartments and to safe areas. A third alarm sounded dispatching Quint 10, Engine 24 and Battalion 1. Onlookers began to gather adding to the crowd. Media soon began arriving on scene.
Due to danger of building collapse and the intensity of the fire masters were launched into action. Exposures were protected with an army of hand lines in operation.
Jones said sixty firefighters battled the blaze.
On March 9, investigators on scene began to search through the rubble for clues. The investigation is still under way but officials say they believe the fire was caused by cooking. The apartment complex was bult in the 1970's and does not have a sprinkler system.
The Red Cross assisted the displaced residents.