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Norfolk family picks up the pieces after devastating fire burns down Ocean View home

The Nicoll family has lived in that house since 1994. They survived a devastating flooding several years ago only for a fire to take their home away again.

NORFOLK, Va. — Driving down 15th Bay Street in Ocean View, you start to see homes toward the end with melted sidings. 

The blinds hang in the windows, drooping from the intense heat that touched it the night before. A black car sat in the street, the side facing the home that caught fire melted and charred.

Shortly after that, at the very end of the street by the water, four charred pillars stick out above a pile of black debris. It's what's left of the Nicoll family's home in Norfolk.

A fire tore through the home Sunday afternoon and within minutes, flames engulfed the entire house, bringing everything inside down with it. 

"It was pretty shocking. I mean, it looked like a war zone when we got here," said Donald Brezina, whose home is one of the houses with melted sidings. His front yard white gate now looks like lightly browned goo on the sidewalk.

Brezina and his wife lived across from the Nicolls for more than 20 years. Whenever one of the families would travel, the other would watch their house for them or take care of things. Brezina called them great neighbors.

13News Now spoke with the Nicoll family. The homeowners, Doug and Tammy, were seen cleaning up the debris with their children, trying to find anything that was left.

Doug Nicoll didn't want to speak on camera, and neither did the rest of his family, but he told us off-camera his family is nothing short of devastated. He said this as his knees were in the rubble, sorting through what was there. 

Doug's daughter said her mother, Tammy, was inside the home when the fire broke out. She said her mother had suffered multiple strokes over the past year, too many to count, and this incident only added more stress to her condition. She added the fire burned up her mother's medication. 

We asked Donald Brezina about Tammy being the only one inside the home at the time of the fire. 

"Someone told her the house was on fire. They saw it out here and tried to get her out. She tried to grab things, but there was no time, that house... by the end it was fully engulfed in flames when they got her out," Brezina explained. "It is devastating... to have everything in the morning and then by afternoon, it's all gone... it's hard to take."

Brezina said he and his wife aren't too concerned about the siding of their home being damaged by the fire. They said they are more worried about the Nicoll family recovering from this devastating loss.

Nonetheless, Brezina said he's grateful the only thing the family lost...were their possessions.

"That's a big deal. That's the biggest thing," Brezina sniffled as he sat on his porch, looking at the rubble. "A house is property, a car is property... all of our stuff is just stuff that can be fixed or replaced... but to get out of that without anyone getting hurt is a big deal."

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Glen Williams went to the scene Monday. He told 13News Now his crews arrived to the scene Sunday within three minutes and immediately knew the house was destroyed.

He said the wind was a big factor in how quickly the fire spread. Williams said his team is currently investigating; however, because the home burned to the ground with practically nothing left to it, it's likely investigators won't be able to determine what caused the fire.

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