Two Sterling girls set out to take a stroll around their neighborhood just before sunset Tuesday, April 16. By the time they got back, they were heroes.
Seneca Ridge Middle School student Megan Huff invited her best friend, Kimberly Evans, over to her house to watch a movie Tuesday, April 16. After the movie, Kimberly and Megan decided to stretch their legs down Yorktown Court. As they walked down the street, the seventh-graders noticed gray smoke coming from the back right side of their friend eighth-grade student David Knight’s house on Yorktown Court.
"I thought they were cooking outside," Megan said, "but then the smoke got darker."
All of a sudden, flames started shooting out of a vent on the side of the garage, Kimberly said. The two girls ran full speed toward the house.
Megan got to the two-story house first and pounded her fists on the door.
"I just kept yelling ‘Fire! Fire!,’" she said.
Emily Knight opened the door and smiled at the girls.
"She had no idea what was going on. She was about to say hello," Kimberly said. "We yelled ‘Fire!’ and pointed to the garage."
Emily Knight called for her husband, sons David and Jonathan and two dogs and raced out of the house.
Megan and Kimberly led David Knight, who is autistic, across the street to safety.
"We faced him away from the fire so he wouldn’t get scared," Kimberly said.
"It was like, instinct," Megan said. "I wasn’t thinking I could get hurt. I was just worried about them."
By that time, the fire spread to a neighbor’s garage. Other neighbors came out of their homes to help. The neighbor's house, which is home to a family of five, was empty. Neighbors called 911.
"It seemed like forever, but seven or eight minutes later, the fire trucks came," Kimberly said.
Mary Maguire, spokesperson for the Fire Marshal’s Office, said crews from Sterling, Ashburn, Fairfax County and Dulles Airport responded to the two homes.
"They put the fires out pretty fast," Megan said.
KIMBERLY EVANS MOTHER Molly Evans received a phone call from her youngest son, Nicholas Evans, about the fire while she was at work.
"I drove home right away, but the street was blocked off, I couldn’t get to them," she said.
Molly Evans walked toward the commotion. She spotted the two girls across the street from the burning houses with David Knight.
"I am so proud of both of them," she said.
The girls have known each other since they were infants.
"They are the best of friends. They’re always together," Molly Evans said. "If something happens in this neighborhood, they’re going to be the first to know about it."
The girls visit the Knight family, who is staying with a neighbor on Yorktown Court, every day after school. Last week, they helped David Knight clean out his room.
"David’s room’s not too bad, just some smoke damage on the walls," Megan said. "Jonathan’s room collapsed a couple days ago."
The dynamic duo learned a few important lessons since the fire.
"Be a good neighbor. Help your friends out," Kimberly Evans said.
"And don’t play with matches," Megan added.
BOTH FAMILIES have been displaced since the fire. They are staying with family and friends after receiving support from the Loudoun County After the Fire Program and the American Red Cross.
"This neighborhood’s been shaken," Molly Evans said. "Things like this don’t happen here."
Students at Dominion High School, where Jonathan Knight is a sophomore, helped organize a Chick-fil-A night to help both families displaced by the fire.
Margee Mangus, a nurse at Dominion High School, encourages families to eat at Chick-fil-A at Sugarland Crossing, in front of Burlington Coat Factory and Shoppers, Friday, April 20, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. All sales profits from the evening will go to the families, Mangus said.
Supervisor Mick Staton (R-Sugarland Run) honored Kimberly Evans and Megan for their bravery at a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, April 17, at Government Center in Leesburg.
THE LOUDOUN COUNTY Fire Marshal’s Office charged two juveniles in connection with two house fires in Yorktown Court and Yorktown Way.
The two middle-school-aged boys are charged with breaking and entering into the homes and setting the fires.
Damage is expected to exceed $500,000, Maguire