A young kid with a camera captured this video as firefighters in Loudoun County, Virginia pulled up to the scene of two closely built single family homes of lightweight construction burning on Saturday just before 5:00 PM. Three firefighters received minor injuries. Two other homes were damaged. The news reports don’t say, but I am imagine from melted siding.
I know this is nothing new to any of you who fight fires in suburbia (and it isn’t new to me), but how sad is it that there is such a large fire loss from a daytime fire. We can thank the great “progress” our nation’s home builders have made with construction techniques over the last 30 years for outcomes like this one. Scenes repeated all over the country every day. Disposable homes thanks to political leaders who choose the big money over protecting the people who elected them (yes I know, what a shock!).
Owning your own detached single family home used to mean, short of an explosion, you really didn’t have to worry about the fire safety of your neighbors. As I know many of you will tell me, this isn’t bad. They are lucky three or four homes weren’t cooking when firefighters arrived on Saturday. Maybe because these homes aren’t built quite as close to one another as other developments.
Folks in South Riding and all of the South Ridings across the country should be outraged. They should demand their political leaders say no to the home builders and stop them from building homes like this unless they include residential sprinklers. Of course that isn’t going to happen.
Below is raw video taken a little later in the operation.
And at the bottom of the page is a story I did in July, 2007 with Keith Brower, the current Loudoun County fire chief, when he was fire marshal. It compares two house fires that occurred on the same day. One of the homes was made the old fashioned way and the other was built like the homes in South Riding.
And by the way, would everyone please stop giving the youngster who was taking the video grief (I am talking about the people you hear on the video)? Lighten up and give the kid a break. I guess I am just grouchy tonight.
The 4:49 p.m. fire, which began in a home at 43341 Nicklaus Lane, caused an estimated $1 million in damage, according to Mary Maguire, public affairs officer for Loudoun Fire-Rescue Services.
ThA total of 22 occupants of the four affected homes were temporarily displaced by the blaze. Twelve of those occupants from two homes were able to return once electrical service was restored, Maguire said.
According to fire and emergency officials, the fire started when a resident carried a container of oil that had overheated on the stove to the garage and left it there. While it was sitting in the garage, the oil heated items in the garage to a smolder. When the garage door was opened, the incoming oxygen fueled the smoldering fire, causing it to spread quickly.
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