Manassas, Virginia Firefighters Arrive First to Find Heavy Fire Showing

May 19, 2006 - Shortly before 4:30 am, mutual box 07-10 was struck for a house on fire at 9310 Brentsville Road, in the Lake Jackson section of Prince William County.

Engine and Tower 501 were quickly out the door and on the road with 8 volunteers. The supplement from PWC Communications advised that the neighbors were reporting an explosion and fire at the house next door, with up to six people trapped. Engine 501, under the direction of Captain R. Higgins was the first to arrive along with the Tower and the Tanker and Chief 507. Units from 501 were met with heavy fire conditions from side A of the single family detached home.

With the report of people trapped, the Engine wasted no time placing the 300 in service. Due to the large volume of fire in the front which had collapsed the front porch, they made entry through a door on side C. Once inside, the Engine and Tower were met with the worst Collier's Mansion conditions seen in a long time. Despite the conditions, crews from 501 made a hard push towards the front of the house, at times crawling over the clutter in an attempt to get at the fire and sweep for the trapped victims. It was at this time command notified the units on the fireground that all residents were accounted for at the neighbors.

Despite 501's effort, heavy smoke conditions and an extreme amount of accumulated junk in the rear of the cut up home were making it nearly impossible to access the front from the inside.

With an all clear having been sounded, units withdrew from the interior as heavy fire was beginning to consume a good majority of the house. Crews proceeded to open up and knock the fire from the outside as 3 lines were placed in service by units from 501, 516, 506,and 518.

After a few minutes, conditions began to improve but it was evident that in order to get a good knock, crews would have to once again try the interior. With smoke conditions not as heavy this time, Engine 501 made another push through a rear door towards the front. This time around, they were able to make the kitchen and living areas, hitting the fire as they went, but with heavy fire still through the roof and no way to get the necessary crews on the interior to pull the ceiling, command pulled the plug and units would operate on the exterior for the remainder.

Crews once again went to work opening up and operating handlines from the outside. Chief 507(Harding) had the command until relieved by BC 504 (Smolsky). Chief 507A (Davis) had operations until relieved by Capt. Boggs.

Units from Manassas were relived on the fireground, and left the scene just in time to handle an investigation on their way back to quarters. The relief crews from the City operated for approximately an hour before finally clearing at 0853 hrs.

An excellent combined career/volunteer effort on the part of all companies (nice to see our east end brothers and sisters from Dale City E518 for a change) brought this fire under control with no firefighter or civilian injuries.

For more info, check out www.ManassasFire.com.

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