CHESAPEAKE, Va., (WVEC) -- Five children were rescued from a house fire in Chesapeake on Saturday.
The children — ages 10, 7, 4, 3 and 6 months old — were rescued from a structure fire in the South Norfolk Section of Chesapeake.
Chesapeake fire responded to a house fire in the 800 block of Wright Avenue.
Crews were dispatched at 12:36 p.m. and arrived at 12:40 p.m., Capt. Lawrence Matthews said.
Upon arrival, fire crews found a single family residence on fire.
They discovered that a neighbor had rescued four children from the residence using a ladder.
A firefighter then went in and rescued a 6-month-old infant. The children who were rescued were 10, 7, 4 and 3-years-old.
The four older children were all transported to local hospitals with injuries not considered life threatening, while the 6-month-old is in critical condition, Matthews said.
The timeline on where the parents were is under investigation, Matthews said in an email.
The cause of the fire is under investigation and the family will be displaced.
The fire, which originated in the kitchen, was declared under control at 12:59 p.m.
The children’s mother, Monica Perkins and her boyfriend Willey Brooks left to grocery shop Saturday morning. They say Brooks’ brother was at the house when they left, but that when he returned he was gone, and the house was destroyed. Perkins still can't believe her five children escaped.
"To see that my kids made it out- like the house just fell in. And I just went in there and I'm like how the hell did they?” Perkins says her oldest son got the children together upstairs.
“He shut the door with them in the room, and the opened up the window,” said Perkins.
Neighbor Taylor Gonzalez heard the children screaming, and looked outside her window.
"They were all like hanging in the window screaming for help and there was smoke coming in the house,” said Gonzales. While neighbor Taylor Gonzalez called 911, her roommate Ron Bollinger ran to help. Bollinger ran to the door but it was too hot, so he went back underneath the window where he found a solution.
"The roofer left the ladder from earlier, I went and put it up there and tried to help them out,” said Bollinger. As Bollinger climbed the ladder he began instructing the kids.
"I was telling them calm down, I'll grab one at a time, start with the smallest,” said Bollinger. Bollinger's roommate Ed Paige stabilized the ladder, taking in the sight from the ground.
"The smoke and kids halfway out the window screaming for their mom and dad,” said Paige. But there was one missing piece, something the rescuers wouldn't know about until Perkins and Brooks returned from the store and talked with fire crews.
"Yes it's okay, you know all four of them are in the car, and I stop and I said what, wait, four? I said no there's five- no there's five,” said Perkins.
Chesapeake Fired Department Captain Lawrence Matthews says the fifth child was a surprise.
"Crews went in, they weren't expecting to find a child sleeping the downstairs bedroom,” said Matthews.
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