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House Fire Displaces Six

A Cape Cod-style home at 6422 Pickett Street, just off South Kings Highway, in the Mount Vernon District of Fairfax County, sustained an estimated $45,000 damage Tuesday morning when a blaze erupted in a basement bedroom area, according to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

"A call from a neighbor was received at 10:33 a.m. However, due to a language barrier problem it was not clear if there actually was a fire. A unit from Penn Daw Station went to investigate and found the home filled with smoke and flames coming from the basement windows," said Lt. Raul Castillo, public information officer, FFCF&R Department.

"They immediately called back and had dispatch activated. That brought additional units from Penn Daw as well as from the Mount Vernon, Woodlawn, Lorton stations and Alexandria," Castillo confirmed. "The fire was extinguished in approximately 12 minutes."

An elderly male resident was home at the time fixing breakfast for his granddaughter when he saw smoke coming from the basement, according to Castillo. The phone line in the house had been damaged by the fire causing the resident to seek help from neighbors, Castillo explained.

"Although the neighbors speak both English and Spanish, the elderly resident spoke only Spanish and was not able to properly convey the seriousness of the situation to his neighbors," he related. "But they [neighbors] did call 911 and he and the granddaughter did not try to re-enter the house."

The cause of the fire was traced to an extension cord attached to an appliance in the basement. "It overheated because it was not adequate to handle the current needed for the appliance," Castillo said.

There were no reported injuries. However four adults and two children have been displaced because of the blaze. The Red Cross is providing temporary shelter, according to officials.