Flames erupted from 40 apartment units in Virginia Beach, Va. after a navy jet crashed into the complex on Friday, CBS News reported.
The student pilot and his instructor ejected before the crash, and Navy Capt. Mark Weisgerber said in a press conference that the plane had experienced a "catastrophic mechanical malfunction," according to The Wall Street Journal.
The pilots had also dumped most of the F/A-18D Hornet's jet fuel before ejecting.
"By doing so, he mitigated what could have been an absolute massive, massive fireball and fire," Virginia Beach EMS division chief Bruce Nedelka told The Wall Street Journal. "With all of that jet fuel dumped, it was much less than what it could have been."
Thankfully, only seven people were injured and there were no deaths.
"It just looked basically like he dropped out of the sky, pretty much," witness Daniel Kavanaugh told CBS News. "The front end of the plane started going down and then, boom - a huge black cloud of smoke."