Seven people were driven from their homes Sunday afternoon, Jan. 30, by a fire that engulfed two Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) units and caused an estimated $27,000 property damage.
At approximately 4:30 p.m. units of Alexandria Fire Department were dispatched to a blaze at 829 N. Henry St. The first arriving unit reported heavy smoke coming from the two-story brick row house, according to Jane Malik, public information officer, Alexandria Fire Department.
Further investigation revealed a kitchen fire at 829 N.Henry St., a two-bedroom unit, had spread to the adjoining three-bedroom unit at 831 N. Henry St, Malik reported. Extensive damage was found in the kitchen and living room area of 829 N. Henry St., according to fire officials.
"Investigation revealed that the occupants of 829 N. Henry had recently purchased a mattress set which was still wrapped in plastic and was being stored in the kitchen area. The mattress apparently fell against the hot stove and ignited," Malik said.
Three people were displaced in unit 829 and four people were evacuated from 831, according to Marye Ish, director, ARHA Housing Operations. All those displaced have been placed in temporary housing by the Alexandria Chapter of the American Red Cross.
"We hope to place the family from 831 N. Henry in another unit almost immediately. They were merely victims of the fire in the other unit," Ish said.
"As for the family in 829 we will have to await the report from the Fire Marshall's office. The temporary quarters provided by the Red Cross are usually good for about five days. After that those displaced usually find quarters with relatives or associates until the investigation is complete," she said.
The ARHA unit at 831 N. Henry received smoke damage but was not placarded unfit for habitation, Malik reported. The case has been determined to be accidental and closed by the fire department, according to Malik. There were no injuries reported.