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ARHA Unit Suffers Fire Damage

Two residents of an Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority (ARHA) public housing unit were displaced Saturday night when fire damaged their home at 906 Montgomery Street.

Multiple units from six Alexandria Fire Department stations responded to the alarm at 8:24 p.m. to find heavy smoke coming from an upstairs bedroom window. Damage to the two story building was estimated at approximately $15,000 by fire department officials.

"The building has been condemned until it is repaired," said Jane Malik, public information officer, Alexandria Fire Department. There were no injuries, although the original caller had reported a person to be burned, Malik reported.

Medic Units from Stations 204 and 203 also responded. One person was checked at the scene for possible smoke inhalation but refused to be transported to the hospital, according to Malik.

Cause of the blaze has been determined to be a child playing with matches. The fire was confined to one bedroom and its contents. It was quickly extinguished, fire officials noted.

"We [ARHA] actually put the residents in a local hotel until they can be relocated to another unit," said A. Melvin Miller, chairman, ARHA Board of Commissioners. "Many times, in situations like this, we work with the Red Cross until we can get the residents into another unit. This time we did it ourselves."

William Dearman, executive director, ARHA, indicated, "It could be as long as three months before the repairs are completed and the residents are back in their home. We'll have to wait and see what the fire marshall's report says."

Depending on the extent of damages, ARHA will need to get bids for repairs and await insurance estimates and settlement. "This can be a rather lengthy process," Dearman said.