Dozens of Richmond residents return home after fire

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A group of Richmond residents forced from their homes due to a massive fire are finally going home today. In December, the Chesterfield Square Apartments nearly burned to the ground. 174 residents were displaced in accidental fire.

This place looks completely different than it did just a few months ago. The main office was a burnt out shell. Now there is life again. 18 residents are moving in today and they say it is good to be home.

Resident Garry Wright can't believe he's standing in that same facility. The walls were rebuilt, the carpets replaced, the smell of smoke now gone.

Rachel DePompa: "What do you think of this place now?"
Garry Wright: "Oh yeah this is beautiful. This is beautiful."

Wright and 60 other residents will be home for the first time this weekend.

"It's exciting for us, it's exciting for them. But it's also comforting for them to know they can return back home," said Apartment Manager Sonya Collins.

After months of living with family or in hotels, days of getting new clothes and belongings, they were greeted today with welcome baskets from a local church group.

"There are a few things there they could possibly use. These are people that may have lost everything they had, so that's important that they have a little sunshine," said Barbara Spicer who is assisting the residents.

It'll be a few more weeks before resident Leroy Booker is able to move back into his apartment, but he couldn't help stopping by to see the transformation.

"Hard for all of us, but the Lord brought us through," Leroy Booker.

Rachel DePompa: "And just glad to be home?"
Garry Wright: "Yes. Yes. Yes."

They are just moving in part of the first floor today. The office manager says she hopes to have the rest of this building up and running by the end of the year.

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