Firefighters rescued a civilian from the third-floor window who became trapped in a townhouse fire on Oliver Court in Purcellville last evening. During the rescue process, a firefighter encountered an emergency, which required them to also be rescued from the third floor. Both the civilian and the firefighter were transported to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment. The firefighter has since been released while the civilian who was listed in critical but stable condition remains hospitalized, according to Inova Loudoun Hospital.
At approximately 6:46 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, 2022, the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call from a person reporting they were trapped in their bedroom due to their townhouse being involved in fire. Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System units responded from Purcellville, Round Hill, Lovettsville, Hamilton, Philomont, Leesburg, Moorefield, as well as units from Mount Weather were dispatched to the fire along with numerous command officers.
First arriving firefighters arrived on the scene in approximately 4 minutes, finding a townhouse with smoke showing from the front of the building. The first arriving units also confirmed that one person was still inside the home, unable to exit. Units coordinated an aggressive fire attack while simultaneously performing a search and rescue operation for the trapped occupant. Command requested a rapid intervention task force which brought additional units to the scene to support the firefighting and search and rescue effort.
The fire was found to be in the kitchen area and had spread into the living room. The fire was extinguished quickly while other units searched for the trapped civilian. The civilian was located on the third floor and quickly removed via a window into the aerial ladder of Tower 602. During the rescue process, a firefighter encountered an emergency. The firefighter was quickly rescued and was removed through the same window as the civilian. Additional units on scene coordinated to ensure the townhouses on either side of the townhouse that was on fire were cleared of occupants with no fire extending into them.
Fire and Rescue units remained on the scene completing salvage and overhaul operations as the Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Fire Marshal’s Office (FMO) conducted their investigation. The FMO investigation into the townhouse fire determined the fire as accidental, caused by a failure of a toaster on a kitchen countertop. The FMO has estimated the dollar loss as a result of the incident at $200,000.
Two adults and three children were displaced as a result of the fire and are receiving assistance from the American Red Cross. One civilian and a firefighter suffered serious injuries and were transported to a local hospital. Both patients were stable at the time of transport.
Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System members will be out canvasing on Saturday, March 19, 2022, to provide free smoke alarm assessments to residences in the area that this fire occurred. During the smoke alarm assessments, system members will check to ensure that the home has properly working smoke alarms in the correct locations. If the smoke alarms are broken or outdated, LCFR personnel will replace them with battery powered alarms at no cost and install additional alarms as necessary. Loudoun County residents can request a free smoke alarm assessment at any time by completing the online form at loudoun.gov/smokealarms or by calling the smoke alarm program hotline at 703-737-8093.
Loudoun County Fire and Rescue shares that to reduce the risk of appliance fires in your home, check appliances regularly for any damage including cables, knobs and buttons and make sure all appliances are operating as designed. If an appliance is damaged in any way or malfunctioning, stop using it immediately until it has been repaired or replaced. Also remember, to always unplug countertop appliances when not in use, and never leave them unattended when they are in use. For more appliance safety tips and fire prevention guidance, please visit www.Loudoun.gov/FirePrevention or call Lisa Braun, Public Education Manager, at 571-258-3222.