Suffolk, Virginia

July 13, 2021


Multiple Suffolk Fire & Rescue units worked a three alarm fire at the Suffolk Tower Apartments, located in the 180 block of North Main Street in Downtown Suffolk.

The incident initially came in as a fire alarm at 4:03 a.m. Tuesday, July 13, 2021, and quickly progressed to smoke alarms on multiple floors.   Fire was showing upon arrival of firefighters, and multiple rescues were made.

According to recent information from building officials, the apartment building includes 50 occupied units, and a total of 118 individuals.

The residents of the apartment building have been advised that temporary housing will be needed until they can reoccupy the structure, and the Office of Emergency Management  worked with the building’s management officials in order to provide transportation for approximately 40 individuals to several local hotels.

Suffolk Fire & Rescue staff also assisted residents with securing any needed medications and other personal items. Temporary sheltering was provided by Main Street United Methodist Church, located at 202 North Main Street.

Chief Michael Barakey advised that 5 people were rescued during the initial response, with 2 persons receiving emergency medical assessment and treatment from Suffolk Fire & Rescue personnel before being ground transported to a local hospital for further treatment. Both were in stable condition. One firefighter sustained minor injuries.

The Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire and has confirmed that an occupant of the 5th floor that was initially transported for medical evaluation has been placed under arrest on a charge of Arson of an Occupied Dwelling, with additional charges forthcoming.

Responding units included 9 Engines, 3 Ladders, 6 Medic Units, 10 Command and supporting staff, as well as the Rehab Bus are on scene, totaling more than 60 people.

A total of 32 people were displaced, and the building officials worked with the Office of Emergency Management to determine potential lodging needs. Firefighters checked apartments floor-by-floor for air quality.

Mutual aid was provided by the Portsmouth Fire Department, Chesapeake Fire Department, and Isle of Wight to backfill Stations with staff and equipment.


-Submitted by Diana Klink