A minor clothes dryer fire generated much smoke and caused the evacuation of an apartment building in Petersburg Thursday. Petersburg Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services responded to South Street Lofts building located at N. South and Hinton Streets at 12:38 p.m., for a call about a fire in a single occupant residence on the third floor, according to Interim Battalion Fire Chief Michael Ferguson. The fire was under control at about 1 p.m. Mutual aid from Colonial Heights provided brief coverage at the Market Street Fire Station No. 2.
Nicole Nivens, a second-floor resident, stood in the parking lot holding her two-year-old daughter after evacuating the building. “I just put her down for a nap and I heard the fire alarm,” said Nivens, who then grabbed her jacket, shoes and daughter to leave the building.
Ty Wheless, a resident of the third floor, also stood in the parking lot with her wife and small dog. “I thought it was a drill,” said Wheless. “We didn’t smell any smoke or anything.”
Ferguson said the building management company worked to relocate one occupant as a result of the fire.
Property management representatives at the scene declined to comment for this article. The property management website for the apartments describes the historic building as the former Federal Cigar Company building renovated into one- and two-bedroom loft-style apartments.
It was “extremely hard to ventilate” smoke from the building because the historic building designation allows for the windows to remain closed, said Ferguson. He said the ventilation process took longer than usual as a result. Firemen set up fans to blow smoke up through a roof hatch in the stairwell of the Hinton Street entryway.
Residents were seen re-entering the building at 1:47 p.m.