A military jet had crashed into an apartment complex and he was one of the first to call it a day of miracles.
He is still emotional about a day he will never forget and the people who took action.
On most days, Mayor William Sessoms enjoys his 5th floor view of Virginia Beach! With one notable exception, Good Friday 2012.
He could see the smoke and flames from his window.
What he feared turned out to be true: A U.S. Navy jet had lost power and crashed into the Mayfair Mews Apartments off Birdneck Road. His gut told him it was bad, really bad!
“To what extent people were injured perhaps had died that was hugely on my mind,” says Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms.
NewsChannel 3 was there when he raced to the scene with tears in his eyes! Dreading that he would likely be the first to know if there were bodies beneath the smoke and flames.
He held his breath with each update from the fire chief.
“We haven’t found any bodies whatsoever at this point, but at the conclusion of every conversation he said, ‘I can’t guarantee that we won’t find some later,’” says Sessoms.
It was at that point he wished he could close his eyes, but he kept them open to see a bad thing bring out the best in people.
“It was pretty much a proud moment for me when I saw the citizens of Virginia Beach first helping lift fire hoses with the firemen to get the hoses where they needed to be ,” says Sessoms.
The mayor marveled at the team work between police, fire, and other first responders. He says it was training that paid off.
The question of who would pay with their lives still hung in the air like the thick black smoke.
The fire chief told him he would wait until the morning and for the mayor. There was joy in the morning.
“It was great joy. There is no other way to put it, it was just a relief and my body went from a very tense, tense feeling to great relief,” says Sessoms.
In the middle of all of it, Mayor Sessoms confessed that he did what people in power often do when they feel powerless. He prayed.
“I heard from people saying they were praying for us, and the prayers were answered,”
So nearly a year later when he gazes out of the window reflecting on the events of Good Friday last year, he thinks of every soul who pitched in and made a bad situation better.
“It was a proud moment for me and it was a proud moment for the citizens of Virginia Beach as well,” says Sessoms.