Nature's wrath struck violently, early Wednesday morning, in Chantilly. A powerful bolt of lightning zapped the roof and attic of a two-story home at 4423 Tulip Tree Court, touching off a fire that caused an estimated $100,000 damage.
"First arriving units saw heavy smoke coming out of the attic," said Battalion Chief Thomas Watson, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department commander on the scene. "The whole roof was on fire."
The home is off Stringfellow and Point Pleasant roads, close to Rocky Run Middle School. Heavy rain had pelted the area, Tuesday night — accompanied by thunder and lightning. Shortly before 1 a.m., the home's two occupants woke up and smelled smoke.
The fire department received the call Wednesday, at 12:55 a.m., sending firefighters and rescue personnel from five area stations racing to the scene. Altogether, four fire engines, a ladder truck, a rescue squad, a medic unit, an air/light unit and Watson responded.
Helping were personnel from Station 17 in Centreville, as well as from the Fair Oaks, Chantilly and Frying Pan stations. Fox Mill firefighters brought the air/light unit, containing a compressor to refill the firefighters' air tanks.
The blaze displaced the occupants. Thomas said the roof, plus the wiring and floor joists in between the first and second floors will need replacing. "The entire upstairs ceiling is gone," he said. "And there's water damage throughout the upper floor — three bedrooms, an office and bathrooms." In addition, the whole house sustained smoke damage.
Watson said the fire began in the attic and spread. Although firefighters had it under control in about 10 minutes, they stayed on the scene for several hours afterward, to make sure no glowing embers remained.