Three Alarm Apartment Fire Displaces Three Residents

Page archived as of November 23, 2015

 For immediate release: April 8, 2011

WHEN:           April 8, 2011 at 1:21 PM.

WHERE:         4600 Block of Seminary Road

WHO:             Alexandria Fire Department

WHAT:           At 1:21 PM Alexandria Fire Department units responded to a three alarm apartment fire in the Seminary Forest apartment complex.  The first fire engine arrived within 3 minutes of the initial dispatch.  Firefighters reported smoke and fire coming from a second floor apartment at the rear of a garden apartment building.  Alexandria firefighters with the assistance of firefighters from Fairfax and Arlington Counties made an aggressive attack on the fire and were able to contain the fire to a single apartment with fire a small amount of fire damage to the balcony of the apartment above.  In addition, firefighters were able to stop the fire prior to it entering the attic space of the apartment building.  There were no injuries reported from this fire.

Several factors prevented the fire from spreading further into the structure.  One of the City’s three ladder trucks was out of service for repairs.  The firefighters assigned to that truck were reassigned to the Seminary Road fire station where they staffed a heavy rescue squad which is normally unstaffed.  The Seminary road fire station was less than a block away from the fire.  Both the heavy rescue squad and the fire engine assigned to the Seminary Road station were able to arrive quickly and begin performing critical tasks including evacuation of the building occupants early in the fire.  The incident commander, recognizing the apartment building was not protected by a fire sprinkler system, initiated a second and subsequent third alarm to provide additional resources to contain the fire early in the incident and supplement the three person firefighter crews initially fighting the fire.

With the assistance of firefighters from Arlington and Fairfax Counties, the bulk of the fire was able to be contained to apartment where the fire originated.  An initial damage estimate is $250,000.  Three residents were displaced by the fire.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The Alexandria Fire Department was recently awarded a $1.6 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to hire 12 new Firefighter / Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) positions to bring four of the City’s eight engine companies up to minimum four-person staffing in compliance with national standards.  In addition, the department plans to spend $3.4 million to replace four engines and one ladder truck in 2012.

For more information, contact Robert B. Rodriguez, Chief Fire Marshal / Community Services Officer/ Alexandria Fire Department, at 703.746.5217 or