7 children taken to hospital after Portsmouth townhouse fire

The incident happened at Charlestowne Condominiums, which is off Greenwood Drive.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Portsmouth officials said seven children were taken to hospital after a townhouse caught fire on Wednesday afternoon.

The incident happened at Charlestowne Condominiums, which is off Greenwood Drive near Cavalier Boulevard. It was reported around 1 p.m. Several people called 911 when they noticed him.

A neighbour, who asked not to be identified, said she saw smoke as she returned from a walk.

“I looked up and saw fire and smoke coming out of the window and I said, ‘What in the world is going on?’ and then the little girl said, ‘Our house is on fire, our house is on fire,’” she said.

She said her neighbors immediately acted

“I asked, ‘Did someone call 911? and they said, ‘Yeah.’ Around this time I heard the sirens coming down the street,” the neighbor said.

Firefighters arrived at the house within two and a half minutes and launched an aggressive attack on the fire.

Deputy Chief Julian Williamson said when fire and emergency crews arrived at the house, smoke billowed from the first and second floors.

According to Battalion Commander Chris Riley, two children were rescued from the second floor. They were taken to hospital in critical condition.

Seven others escaped on their own before firefighters arrived. According to a press release, five of those seven people went to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Another neighbor told 13News Now she went outside and saw large flames and smoke billowing from the house. She said she saw some of the children jump out the window to escape.

The neighbor said she saw some of the children being loaded into the ambulance and it broke her heart.

“I’m just praying that this little boy is okay, that’s all. Because I’m a grandmother myself. It would kill me if anything happened to one of my own,” the neighbor said.

Riley said the fire was limited to one unit and it’s not known if the parents were there when it happened. He credited the neighborhood’s quick decision to call 911 and his team’s quick response with turning it off quickly.

The Red Cross is assisting the victims and around 5:30 p.m. teams arrived to begin cleaning and restoring the unit.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Editor’s note: A police official initially told a 13News Now reporter at the scene that eight children had been taken to hospital; however, a City of Portsmouth press release said only seven children were.

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