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Blowtorch Causes Apartment Fire

Last week's fire at Vienna Park Apartments was caused accidentally by a worker using a blowtorch on the first level, according to a release from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

The three-alarm fire at 150 Patrick St., S.E., was reported Tuesday, Jan. 17 at about 2:30 p.m. and brought more than 90 emergency personnel to the scene.

According to the release, the fire was brought under control within 60 minutes. One firefighter was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Five units were damaged by the fire, displacing 18 residents, and an additional 47 residents were displaced due to the resulting lack of utilities in 148, 152 and 154 Patrick St. Damage is estimated at $300,000.

The local Red Cross provided temporary housing for those displaced by lack of utilities.

Chris Darlington, disaster preparedness coordinator for the Fairfax/Falls Church office of the Red Cross, said these residents had been put in hotels and were able to return to their homes in about 36 hours. As for those displaced by fire damage, "The property managers were able to put almost all of them in empty units on the property," said Darlington.

Dan Schmidt, spokesman for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, said he did not think any code violation was involved in the spread of the fire.

— Mike DiCicco