Fire Forces Evacuation of Va. High-Rise Apartments

About 200 people were forced from a Newport News high-rise after fire broke out on the second floor. One elderly man suffered smoke inhalation.

June 16--NEWPORT NEWS -- A blaze in a second-floor apartment forced the evacuation of a 12-story building late Sunday night.

At 9:16 p.m., Newport News Fire and Rescue crews were dispatched to The Towers, 700 Waterfront Circle, according to Assistant Battalion Chief Robert Craft.

Craft said when the first crews arrived five minutes later, there were smoke and flames showing from the window of the apartment. The fire was out within 20 minutes, he said, and was contained to the one apartment.

Crews were on scene until late Sunday removing burnt debris and clearing the scene. He said the fire was electrical.

Craft couldn't say at 10:05 p.m. how long it would take before residents could return to their homes.

No one was injured, Craft said. One of the apartment's occupants, an older man, was given oxygen, but refused further medical treatment, he said.

A woman, who did not want to be identified, said it was her apartment -- her father's room -- that caught fire.

She said her father was asleep in the living room when she smelled smoke from a back bedroom. When she opened the door, she saw the fire, she said and they evacuated.

Craft said three adults and a child lived there and would receive assistance from the Red Cross.

The apartment building, home to about 200 people, was the scene of another fire about three months ago on the eighth floor. The fire displaced 37 residents in 21 apartments. It is still boarded up.

Copyright 2014 - Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)