PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - One person has died and more were injured after a fire broke out at an apartment facility for seniors in Petersburg on Monday night.
The fire broke out around 9 p.m. at 214 S. Sycamore St. When crews arrived, they found smoke inside the building.
The daughter of the victim, Akebah Stokes, confirmed Brenda Bryant died from the fire. She said the fire started in Bryant's room. Bryant's boyfriend tried to rescue her and was injured.
"He told me her bed was engulfed in flames," said Stokes. "He tried to save her while the flames were raging and he burned his ears. He has second and third degree burns one his ears."
Stokes says her mother needs a walker and Bryant's boyfriend couldn't get her out.
"She couldn't really get out of the bed and he tried his best to help her," said Stokes. "He was a very big hero to me."
Stokes says her mother worked for Hopewell schools as a school bus aide several years ago and used to watch children. "I want everyone to know that my mother was very caring, loving, she loved God, she loved her family," she said.
Renters like Monik Williams says more mobile neighbors helped those using walkers or canes.
"It was an outpour and an outreach of love last night," said Williams. "An abundance of it."
Williams says churches and community groups also showed up to check on them. While that support is comforting, it's tough because Williams lost a good friend.
"[Brenda] was a wonderful person," said Williams. "She's going to be greatly missed"
At least 14 residents were displaced by the fire, and police on the scene said that number could reach 50.
Fire officials say the blaze started on the sixth floor, but aren't sure yet how it started.
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