On Thursday, April 19, at approximately 8:49 a.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and Arlington County Fire Department were dispatched for a reported building fire in the 6700 block of Lowell Avenue in the McLean section of Fairfax County.
Units arrived on scene of a three-story, animal healthcare center and boarding facility with no smoke or fire visible. Crews searched the facility and discovered a small fire with a considerable amount of smoke on the second floor. The fire was quickly extinguished. All of the animals were evacuated to a nearby location and safely returning to the shelter. There were no reported civilian or fire fighter injuries.
The building was occupied by 25 adults and approximately 70 dogs at the time of the fire. An employee discovered the fire while he was attempting to repair copper tubing. Another employee unsuccessfully attempted to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher. He then called 9-1-1.
The building was equipped with sprinklers and smoke alarms. However, the sprinklers did not activate because the fire was in the ceiling space above them. The smoke alarms failed to activate.
Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the ceiling space. The cause of the fire was an open flame torch applied to the insulation in the ceiling space.
No occupants were displaced as a result of the fire. Red Cross assistance was not requested. Damages as a result of the fire were estimated to be $62,500.