Fire Update: Chesterfield Square Apartments, Construction ahead of schedule

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - They were forced out of their homes nearly a year ago, on December 1st, because of a massive fire. More than 150 people were displaced. Although some residents have been able to return home, others have not.

Construction is ahead of schedule that means some of those displaced residents may get to return home sooner than expected. Erma Holmes considers herself lucky.

"I  love it, love it, love being back home," said Holmes.

Her once, fire and water damaged apartment is livable again. Nearly one year ago, flames devoured much of one building and caused damage two others at the Chesterfield Square Apartments in Richmond.

In all, 174 elderly and disabled residents were evacuated. Nearly half of those displaced residents like Doris Woodlief are back home.

"Feels wonderful. I missed my home a lot, just being away I was just miserable," said Woodlief.

More of Woodlief's neighbors are expected to start coming home mid-next year, earlier than expected. Renovations are complete in the *A* building.

"We had no walls. We now have walls. We have carpet and new doors," said Property Manager, Sonya Collins.

The *B* building , which was gutted, has taken shape. The *C* building took the brunt of the blaze. Since the fire the building has been demolished and hauled off.

"It's been a struggle, a challenge but the reward is that our residents are comfortable they're eager to get back. We're doing everything in our power to make sure they're able to come back as soon as possible," said Collins.

The manager says progress is being made on the property and that work will continue until the complex is complete. As for Holmes, she's counting down the days to when her displaced neighbors can return home again.

"I'm sorry my other friends aren't back. I'll be glad when they come back," said Holmes.

Construction is expected to be completely finished by December next year. Displaced tenants are being housed in apartments at different properties. The fire was ruled an accident, caused by a candle. No one was hurt.

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