Groveton Fire Causes Extensive Damage; Cause Remains Under Investigation

UPDATE: Groveton Fire Caused by Improperly Discarded Smoking Materials

Fire Investigators have determined that Saturday’s fire in the Groveton area was accidental in nature. The fire started in the second-floor trash chute of the residential portion of a multi-use complex. The cause of the fire was improperly discarded smoking materials.

Damage figures include the total loss of the main buildings under construction, 14 townhouses, and one trailer. The amount also includes damage to five apartment buildings, 14 additional townhouses, four single family homes, 29 vehicles, and multiple pieces of construction equipment.

Damage total as a result of the fire is $48,171,075.

Groveton Fire Causes Extensive Damage; Cause Remains Under Investigation

On Saturday, February 8, at approximately, 9:40 a.m., Fairfax County Fire and Rescue responded for reports of a building fire in the 2800 block of Poag Street in the Groveton area of Fairfax County. Units arrived on scene within three minutes and reported an advanced fire from the top floor of a five-story building that was under construction.

The building sat in a block with numerous other buildings under construction. As is common with buildings under construction, there was no sprinkler system in place. This combined with extremely windy weather conditions made fighting the fire difficult. Crews worked diligently to extinguish the fire in the buildings under construction while also working to prevent it from spreading to nearby occupied residential buildings. The fire went to four alarms drawing units from City of Alexandria Fire Department, Arlington County Fire Department, Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, and Fort Belvoir Fire and Emergency Services.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries and were transported and evaluated at local hospitals. Both have been released. One civilian suffered minor injuries and was transported and evaluated at a local hospital.

The fire spread to five buildings and 14 townhouses that were under construction. All these properties are considered a total loss. The fire damaged and additional 14 townhouses, four single-family homes, five apartment buildings, a commercial building, and 28 vehicles.

Fire investigators determined that a worker at the construction site noticed a fire in a trash chute. The worker called 911 and attempted to extinguish the fire. The attempts were unsuccessful and the worker evacuated the property.

Dominion Power turned off the power to the immediate area. The Red Cross, Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management, and complex management assisted those residents that were displaced.

Units remain on scene hitting hot spots and continuing extinguishing efforts.

The property and content values for all the buildings and vehicles involved has not yet been determined. The origin and cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Thanks to the following for some of videos/photos used in this video: Christina Walls, Bob Pugh, Tom Connolly.