Preston Knight -- email@example.com
Hundreds of residences were evacuated on Blue Mountain in Warren County after high winds spread a house fire to surrounding acreage Saturday afternoon.
The blaze started around 3:30 p.m. on Lookout Point Way, where firefighters found a fully involved house, said Joe McCreary, president of the Linden Volunteer Fire Department. No injuries were reported, but the immediate area, which some estimated had about 500 houses, was evacuated, with the fire hall becoming an emergency shelter before Skyline High School became host.
The fire was one of three largescale ones going on at the same time -- earlier in the day, a brush fire in the Shenandoah National Park in Browntown and a fire in the Orkney Springs/Conicville area of Shenandoah County had started, with smoke seen towering into the sky from interstates 81 and 66.
In Winchester, Fire and Rescue Chief Scott Culler said $250,000 in damage was done to a house at 420 Beechcroft Road after a fire was reported there at 12:12 a.m. Saturday. An occupant observed fire in the basement, and when crews arrived minutes later, heavy fire was visible, as was heat and smoke on the first floor, he said.
The fire intensified because of high winds, and was under control at 2:18 a.m., Culler said. The house is uninhabitable, but nobody was injured. An overloaded electrical extension cord was determined to be the cause.
Wind also caused a southbound tractor-trailer to overturn on I-81 around 3:30 p.m., closing both lanes for hours. There were no injuries, state police spokesman Sgt. F.L. Tyler said.