Investigators call Hopewell fire "highly suspicious"

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - A fast moving apartment fire is being called "highly suspicious" by investigators.

The fire broke out Thursday morning in the 400 block of South Ninth Street in Hopewell. It started on the 2nd floor of the apartment and spread quickly.

Neighbor, Pamela Taylor, smelled smoke and called for help.

"Very concerned because I didn't know if it would spread over here. I got my kids, and my grand kids are  here, so it was very scary," said Taylor.

Taylor ran out her home and pounded on her neighbor's burning door.

"I saw flames on the backside and a bunch of smoke coming out of the front and the top of the roof," she added.

The fire started in the master bedroom. The tenant was not at home.

Investigators say, it appears the fire was purposely set.

"From the different fire patterns, we're looking to see why the fire started. There's no reason for it to start in the areas that it did," said  Hopewell Fire Battalion Chief Donny Hunter.

Once the fire was put, out police from surrounding areas were called to the scene.

Richmond assisted by bringing its K9.

"The dog will help sniff for accelerants to see if there was an accelerant used in the fire," said Hunter.

For now, the cause of the fire is undetermined. The investigation continues.

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