Firefighters rescue 2 people from burning Petersburg apartment: ‘I started hollering’

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Firefighters rushed to rescue two people after a fire broke out inside a Petersburg apartment building Friday morning.

The pair were inside a second-floor unit when a fire broke out in the kitchen of a downstairs apartment.

Moments before she called 911, Nicole Hines helped sound the alarm.

“I noticed black smoke rolling up,” Hines recalled. "I started hollering for everybody else to try and get out."

When she called 911, fire crews were dispatched.

Petersburg apartment

Petersburg apartment

"We've got reports of the fire being in the first-floor right hand side,” dispatchers could be heard saying via emergency communications. "Per the caller, everyone is out of the apartment."

However, when fire crews arrived to the building, they discovered that two people were still inside.

"Truck 1 on your arrival, get any occupants out of the second-floor apartment," dispatchers could be heard saying before fire crews responded: "We've located 2 victims, they're coming out now."

Hines praised the quick work of firefighters  “amazing.”

Angela Pope, whose daughter was one of the two people rescued, was emotional.

"Just tore me up for a minute," Pope said. "I've very appreciative and grateful that they saved them from out there, because it could have been worse than what it is."

Capt. Dan Macaluso with the Petersburg Fire Department said crews made an “aggressive attack” and extinguished the blaze.

Petersburg Assistant Fire Marshal Marlow Jones said the fire started in one of the unit’s kitchens.

While the exact cause is still being investigated, the people who call the building home have been displaced.

"I yellow tagged the building, simply because of the amount of smoke damage in that building," Jones said.

The building will have to be professionally cleaned, so those who move back in do not breathe toxic fumes.

The fire marshal also pointed out that the building had no working smoke detectors.