Just after 4:00 a.m., Saturday, February 2, 2019, units from Round Hill, Purcellville, Loudoun Heights, Hamilton, Leesburg, Clarke County and numerous command and safety officer were dispatched for a reported structure fire in the Blue Ridge District of Loudoun County in the 16000 Block of Mountain Orchard Lane. The fire was called in by a passing VDOT plow driver, who stopped for two dogs on the roadway, saw a large column of smoke, and then contacted the Loudoun County Communications Center via 9-1-1 to report a suspected house fire along the ridgeline west of Round Hill. The driver was able to identify an address near the location and reported that to the communications center.
As units arrived on location, they found a two story single family dwelling located approximately 1800 feet off the roadway, completely engulfed in flames and in the process of collapsing. Accessing the site was extremely difficult and treacherous due to the ice and snow remaining on the roads and driveway. Shortly after arrival, additional units from Philomont and other surrounding areas were requested to support both the safety of the firefighters and rural water supply operations. Communications reported that the family was able to escape and was located at a nearby residence and in need of medical care, so EMS crews were dispatched to the neighbor’s house. Firefighters deployed hose lines and monitored the structure to ensure that the fire did not extend to the woods surrounding the home. Crews remained on location for approximately three hours.
The family members, including two adults and two children, were awaken to the fire by functioning, interconnected smoke alarms that helped save their lives. All occupants were able to exit the home through a second story window, onto a roof, and jumping to the snow covered ground below; as the fire had advanced blocking their front door or primary way out. The occupants were forced to flee in their sleeping clothes, no shoes, and walked over a quarter mile to find help. The occupants were transported to a local hospital for evaluation.
The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office remained on-scene and is conducting an investigation into the cause and origin of the fire. The home and all contents are a total loss, with damages estimated at $836,000. All four of the occupants and their pets are displaced from the home. There were no injuries to first responders despite the extremely cold temperatures.
The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office recommends that every residence have working smoke alarms on each level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Loudoun County Fire and Rescue’s smoke alarm program offers free home safety surveys and smoke alarms for Loudoun County residents. If your smoke alarms aren’t working or are outdated we will replace them with battery powered alarms at no cost and install additional alarms as necessary. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the department hotline 703-737-8093 or visit www.loudoun.gov/smokealarms .