Townhouse Fire in South Riding, VA 28-March-2006

According to a Loudoun County, Virginia Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management Press Release, around 4:17 PM, on Tuesday, March 28, the Loudoun Fire-Rescue received a 911 call for a structure fire in the 43100 block of Katama Square in South Riding. The fire resulted in extensive damage to four townhouses.

I live a few blocks from the townhouses involved in the fire and had actually passed by them around 4:00 on my way to the South Riding Town Hall for a meeting. At about 4:30 we went outside to see what was happening. The fire was about two blocks east of Town Hall. We saw a big cloud of black smoke rising from the back of one of the townhouses and white smoke coming from the neighboring units. It didn't take long for the fire to spread. As more fire trucks and emergency vehicles were arriving on the scene, flames spread to the roof of two townhouses.

I ran home to get my camera and when I got back to the scene, the fire was almost under control, but the damage was done.

Map showing location of fire and location of Mike's home

This map shows how close the fire was to my townhouse.

- - Putting Out the Fire - - Inspecting the Damage - - Tearing Down a Townhouse - -

Putting Out the Fire

View of smoke from fire

Looking west down Center Street from the corner of Center Street and Upper Clubhouse. The fire is at the end of the block and around the corner on the left.


Firemen in the backyard trying to put out the fire.

townhouse fire

View from the front showing the fire under control

Residents watching

Residents gathered to watch the firemen put out the fire.

front view of townhouse fire

View of the front of the townhouses. The fire began in the townhouse with the brick front on the right and spread into the unit on the left.


A yellow Ashburn firetruck parked in front of the fire. According to reports, Loudoun County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management, South Riding, Arcola, Moorefield, Ashburn, Aldie, Fairfax County, MWAA and Prince William responded to the scene.


One of the fireman who helped put out the fire.


The fire is under control, but the damage has been done.


Medevac helicoptor. An adult male, who was found in front of the townhouses when units first arrived was flown by helicopter to Washington Hospital Center for treatment of burn injuries sustained in the fire.

townhouses after dark

The firemen and fire marshall were on the scene for several hours after the fire was put out.


Inspecting the Damage

The next day, after work, I went back to look at the extent of the damage to the townhouses from the fire.

back of townhouses after fire

View of the back of the townhouses from Center Street.

side of townhouses after fire

View of the damage from the side. Workers were salvaging anything they could from the townhouses.

front of townhouses after fire

View of the damage from the front. The roofs were completely destroyed in the fire.

looking into window of townhouse

View in one of the front bedroom windows showing the extent of the damage inside the townhouse where the fire began.

back of townhouse after the fire

View of the damage from the backyard.


Tearing Down a Townhouse

The next afternoon, a demolition crew was tearing down the townhouse where the fire began. Other workers were removing carpet and plaster from the neibhboring units.


It is hard to believe that just 48 hours earlier, this was just a typical townhouse.


A large crane made short work of tearing down the townhouse. You can see the extent of damage to the attic of the neighboring townhouse.

view from back yard

View from the backyard showing the hole where a townhouse once stood.