Fire Severely Damages Va. Home, Spreads to 3 Others

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver at a fire in Gainesville that heavily damaged four homes. (Published Friday, Jun 6, 2014)

    More than 55 first responders were called to the scene of a two-alarm house fire Friday that damaged four homes in Gainesville, Va.

    The fire began in the garage of one of the homes in the 6800 block of Hollow Glen Court just before 10 a.m. and spread quickly due to the wind and proximity of the homes to one another. Video from the scene shows flames shooting from the roof of one of the homes before spreading to three others.

    "It moved so quickly, and I don't see the house anymore it's just like black parts," said Consuelo Argueta, who lived in the home where the fire started for 10 years.

    The fire started in her garage.

    "My daughter she called me and she was crying," Argueta said. "She said, 'Mom, the house is on fire.' And I said, 'Get out and call 911.'"

    Three homes sustained damage to their roofs; the heat from the fire melted the aluminum siding on the fourth.

    But it could have been a lot worse, Prince William County Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief John Shiflett said.

    "The houses, some of them are going to be uninhabitable, but we were able to stop it from going into a fifth or sixth house," Shiflett said.

    Clyde Wray recorded the fire on his cellphone.

    "For some unforeseen reason, it seemed all of sudden, the wind just picked up and started blowing it from right to left and that's why it hit the next house," he said. "And as soon as it hit the next house it just crawled across the roof and jump to the next one."

    Neighbor Mark Versaggio went door-to-door to tell his neighbors to get out of their homes.

    "It was just automatic," he said. "Maybe it was for me being a marine, but it was just to get people out first and think about other things later."

    He was joined by a police officer.

    "At the same time one of the officers, he pulled up," Versaggio said. "He went down the other side of the street."

    Four families were displaced; they are being assisted by the Red Cross.

    "It's so hard for me to process right now. I tried to take care of my house every single day, when I come I'm happy to see my house but now I don't have a place to live with my kids," Argueta said. "I don't know where I'm going to go with my kids." 

    6800 Hollow Glen Court in Gainesville.

    No one was hurt. Several pets also escaped the fire unharmed.

    "These firemen, I have the utmost respect," Versaggio said. "They got here, they knew what to do. The firefighters were outstanding."

    Fire officials are investigating the cause.