Off-Duty Firefighter Dies In Virginia House Fire

A 23-year-old Bloomington, Md., firefighter died Saturday of smoke inhalation as the result of a house fire in Culpeper, Va.

John Boone, who had been a member of the Bloomington Volunteer Fire Department for a little over two years, had been staying in Culpeper for the last two weeks, said Danny Bever, first assistant chief of the company.

"He had been back and forth helping his mother," Bever said.

Detective Dan Art told the Culpeper Star Exponent that Boone found in the corner of the living room on the floor of his home when an electrical problem sparked a fire in the master bedroom.

Rescue officials received the emergency call at 6:59 a.m., although the fire could have been burning up to an hour prior to that, Art said. Neighbor James Clay called the fire department after seeing smoke coming from the house.

Officials said there was no working smoke detector in the home.

When rescue workers arrived at 7:06 a.m., Boone had no pulse, Art told the Exponent.

Boone was staying at the home with his mother, sister and brother-in-law and was scheduled to begin work at Luke Stone, a gravel and sand supplier.

Although he grew up in Oakland and went to Southern High School, Boone had been a welcome addition to the Bloomington VFD.

"He was a hard worker. A very, very good young member," Bever said.

Boone had passed in the firefighter I class, becoming a certified firefighter.

"He did us an excellent job at the fire hall. He came to all the drills and did all the training," Bever said. "He was going to become a driver for us."

He added that Boone had driven the small trucks and was going to get his license to drive the company's engine and tanker.

"As far as I'm concerned, John was a top-notch guy," Bever said.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time, although Bever said they will be held locally at the end of the week.