Virginia senior living complex where 3 died in fire didn’t have fire alarm

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Officials say the senior living complex that caught fire early Saturday morning — killing three and injuring six others — did not have a fire alarm.


Crews were called to the four-alarm fire at Chesapeake Crossing off Robert Hall Boulevard after 4:30 a.m. Three three-story buildings were involved in the blaze. It took over two hours for firefighters to extinguish it.

RELATED: 3 dead, 6 hurt in major fire at senior living center in Virginia

Capt. Scott Saunders said that the buildings did not have a fire alarm that notified dispatchers — but was still in compliance with building code.

Saunders said at the time the complex was built, the building code did not require the complex to have fire alarms. Buildings must comply with the code under which they were built, according to Saunders. Fire code simply requires structures to follow their building code.


The buildings were equipped with smoke detectors and a sprinkler system, according to officials. The sprinkler system will — and did — cause an alarm to sound, but it does not notify dispatchers.

Officials believe smoke detectors were in each unit. These are single station smoke detectors, meaning not all of the detectors would sound unless all of them detected smoke.

Still, the complex was in compliance with building code.

Three people were found dead in different locations of the complex. Four residents and two firefighters were injured, but were all in stable condition at least check.

The fire left 144 apartments uninhabitable and displaced 150 residents, according to the fire department.

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