It was the black smoke in a Springfield neighborhood that alarmed William Huntington Jr., who pulled up to the house to find it engulfed in flames on the morning of Wednesday, March 24. Huntington was on a home improvement job in the neighborhood with his crew. When they arrived, Huntington sent the crew around back and he broke down the front door.
"I ran up to the door. I could hear smoke alarms going off," said Huntington, who proceeded to search the home. "It was really pretty dense in there, all the black smoke."
Firefighters from the West Springfield and Burke Fire Stations arrived at 8006 Springfield Village Drive to find the garage as well as that end of the house engulfed in flames. Neighbors thought they heard explosions as well. Cindy Saylor was one of the neighbors that called 911.
"There was a series of some kind of explosions coming out of the garage," Saylor said.
Saylor saw Huntington and his crew.
"There were four of them," she said. "They tried to go in the front."
Jennifer Rubenstein, a college student home on spring break, was asleep next door. "I heard a couple of pops," she said. "I went back to sleep."
"It sounded like transformers of something," said Laura Galicia, who lives around the corner. "I thought it was construction."
Jim Kotwicki, a firefighter from Station 14 in Burke, emerged from the house covered in smoke residue. Although investigators were on the scene, Kotwicki didn't know about any explosions.
"Any aerosol cans are going to make an explosion," he said. "They lost a whole bedroom and a half."
WHILE INSIDE, Kotwicki and other firefighters saved some items in the bedroom from destruction.
"The crew tried to pull out some pictures and trophies," Kotwicki said.
Kitty Austria from Fire Station #27 in West Springfield was covered in soot as well.
"Unbelievable," she said.
The fire took 20 minutes to bring under control, said Firefighter Joel Fry.
Kirby Myers, the homeowner, was at work when neighbors called him.
"I got a call at work. They say it started in the garage, nobody was home at the time," Myers said.
Damages were estimated in the $100,000 range, said Lt. Raul Castillo of Fairfax County Fire & Rescue.