Daily staff report
An early morning fire Thursday in Front Royal left a house at 416 Manassas Ave. with $45,000 in damage, Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie said.
The fire forced one occupant to flee the basement of the building, Mabie said, adding no one was injured.
Four other occupants of the home owned by Melvin Baugher, of Front Royal, and occupied by Wally Manuel and his family, were uninjured, he said. Mabie said the home's occupants were on vacation.
Mabie said fire crews arrived at the scene at 4:46 a.m. finding heavy smoke pouring from the house and fire visible through the basement windows. He said crews brought the fire under control about 30 minutes later. The fire closed Manassas Avenue for about three hours, he said.
Mabie said smoke alarms were installed throughout the home but were missing all their batteries, thereby rendering them useless.
Mabie said the cause of the fire remains under investigation and criminal activity has not been ruled out. Anyone with information is asked to contact Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico at 636-3830 or Sgt. Jason Ryman of the Front Royal Police Department's criminal investigation division at 635-2111.