HENRICO, Va. (WTVR)— It took 35 firefighters 30 minutes to bring an apartment fire in Henrico’s West End under control Thursday morning.
Flames were shooting from the roof of a Chase Gayton apartment when firefighters arrived around 10:15 a.m., according to Henrico Fire Capt. Jim Mellon. The complex is near the intersection of Gaskins and Quioccasin Roads.
Now, eight people are homeless from the flames and smoke. And one woman who escaped the fire at Colonial Village off of Gaskins Road is no stranger to disaster.
Just when Pamela Pollard thought life couldn’t get any worse, her neighbor alerted her to the fire and told her to get out. She arrived in Richmond just days ago after her home in Long Island washed away during Hurricane Sandy.
“This is tragedy after tragedy for me,” Pollard said. “I just got here a few days ago and it’s like I’m homeless all over again.”
The two-alarm fire engulfed the end unit inside building 36. The apartment belongs to Pollard’s sister. Neighbors were concerned the intense flames would spread.
“I’ve never seen fire move so fast from one place to another,” neighbor Irene Zfass said. “It is scary.”
Carlos Alcibar noticed flames shooting from his neighbor’s home, and he took action.
“First thing I wanted to do was go in and knock on doors and tell people to get out,” Alcibar said.
He banged on Pollard’s door first, and she narrowly escaped the burning home.
“I looked out and the balcony was on fire and I just got out,” Pollard said.
Firefighters knocked the flames down, but nothing is left of Leticia Taylor-Pollard’s home.
“My house up in flames. Everything is gone. I just thank God my niece is ok,” she said.
Her niece wasn’t even supposed to be living here.
Pollard’s home blew away in Superstorm Sandy.
“Now this. I lose everything or what little I had from New York now I have only the clothes on my back,” she said.
“It is pretty depressing to think she has to go through all of this,” her neighbor Alcibar said.
Both the relatives are now homeless, but they have each other thanks to their fast acting neighbor.
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You might have saved my life today,” said Pollard.
The Red Cross is helping the victims. Fire investigators are still trying to determine a cause.