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7 children taken to hospital after Portsmouth town house fire, 2 in critical condition

The incident happened at Charlestowne Condominiums, which is off Greenwood Drive.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Officials in Portsmouth said seven children were taken to a hospital after a town house caught on fire Wednesday afternoon.

The incident happened at Charlestowne Condominiums, which is off Greenwood Drive near Cavalier Boulevard. It was reported around 1 p.m. Several people called 911 when they noticed it.

One neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said she saw the smoke as she was coming back from a walk.

"I looked up, and I saw fire and smoke coming out of the window and I said, ‘What in the world?’ and so, the little girl said, ‘Our house is on fire, our house is on fire,’" she said.

She said her neighbors immediately took action

"I asked, 'Did anybody call 911?' and they said, 'Yeah.' About this time, I heard the sirens coming down the street," the neighbor said.

Firefighters showed up at the house within two and a half minutes and made an aggressive attack on the fire.

Deputy Chief Julian Williamson said when fire and EMS teams got to the home, there was smoke coming out of both the first and second floors.

According to Battalion Chief Chris Riley, two children were rescued from the second floor. They were taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Seven others escaped on their own before the fire department arrived. According to a press release, five of those seven went to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Another neighbor told 13News Now she came outside and saw large flames and smoke coming from the house. She said she saw some of the children jumping from the window to escape.

The neighbor said she saw some of the children being loaded into the ambulance and it broke her heart.

"I’m just praying that that little boy is okay, that’s all. Because I’m a grandmother, myself. That would kill me if something happened to one of mine," the neighbor said.

Riley said the fire was contained to one unit and it's unknown if the parents were around when it happened. He credited the neighborhood's quick decision to call 911 and his crew's fast response for getting it put out quickly.

The Red Cross is assisting the victims and at around 5:30 p.m., crews arrived to begin cleaning and restoring the unit.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Editor's Note: A police official had originally told a 13News Now reporter on the scene that eight children were taken to the hospital; however, a press release from the City of Portsmouth said only seven children were.

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