One home destroyed, many acres scorched in Occoquan Forest blaze

One home destroyed, many acres scorched in Occoquan Forest blaze

19 February 2011

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USA — Three major fires, as well as several smaller ones, kept firefighters in Prince William County busy Saturday afternoon.

Fire officials said dry and windy weather conditions caused several brush fires to spread. As of 4 p.m. Saturday, 96 fire units were responding to calls throughout the county and off-duty personnel were called.

A fire on Lake Forest Drive in the Buckhall area spread over 25 to 30 acres and destroyed at least one house, said Assistant Fire Chief Warren Whitley.

“We’re getting conflicting reports right now, but we have at least one house destroyed, one damaged and lots of outbuildings that have burned,” Whitley said.

Fire officials said two to three detached garages and two to three cars also burned in the fire.

Houses on the west side of Occoquan Forest Drive, from Davis Ford Road to Lake Forest Drive were evacuated.

Some of the residents stood across Davis Ford Road Saturday afternoon, with dogs on leashes and overnight bags in their hands, waiting to return home.

One couple, who did not give their names, said they saw the fire going up their driveway and were unsure if their house was damaged.

Matt and Stephanie Plummer, who live on the other side of Davis Ford Road, said they watched as the fire burned one house to the ground and spread to others.

“That house, in ten minutes, burnt to the ground,” Stephanie Plummer said.

Witnesses said they heard several explosions, possibly from propane tanks, after the house burned.

Area residents said it appeared that as many as five houses could be involved in the fire.

“It looks like it just keeps spreading,” Matt Plummer said.

Matt Plummer said it appeared that a tree fell on a power line, sparking the fire.

A preliminary report from county fire marshals also gave that cause for the fire.

The Plummers said they were worried that the fire would spread across Davis Ford Road. Residents of the area were without power during the fire. Because most of the area residents use well water, they were also without water while the power was out.

“If we had water I would get out the hose and douse the house with water,” Stephanie Plummer said.

Fire trucks appeared to be pumping water out of nearby reservoirs to help them fight the fire.

While that fire burned, fire fighters were battling two other large brushfires in Dale City.

A brush fire at the Dale City exist of southbound Interstate 95 consumed over 5 acres and another brush fire on the northbound side of Cardinal Drive involved over 10 acres, Whitley said.

Late Saturday afternoon smoke was obscuring I-95 and the northbound lanes and access ramps for the Dale City exit had been shut down.

Fire officials were advising residents to avoid any outdoor flames Saturday afternoon, including grilling and cigarettes and cigars.

The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for the area lasting through 9 p.m. Saturday. Winds between 25 and 35 miles per hour, with gusts up to 60 miles per hour were expected.

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