By Katie Demeria
Wet weather prevented the fire that destroyed a Fort Valley house Saturday from causing a great deal of damage to surrounding woodlands.
Crews were dispatched at 9:24 p.m. Saturday to 185 Plum Tree Lane, according to Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue Public Information Officer John Collins.
Fort Valley Fire Department arrived on scene first to find the building engulfed in flames, Collins said.
"It was a total loss," he added. "There's nothing but foundation at this point."
It took rescue crews three hours to control the blaze, with the last engine leaving shortly after midnight, Collins said. The house was empty at the time, and no one was injured as a result of the flames.
Wind was blowing embers up around 200 feet and into the surrounding woodlands, Collins added, but Saturday's rain prevented those embers from catching fire.
"If it had been dry it could have been a much worse situation," Collins said.
Because the building was in such a rural area, no fire hydrant system was available. Instead, firefighters employed a dry hydrant to put out the flames.
"We have dry hydrants in various part of the county, especially in the rural areas," Collins said. "It's basically a PVC pipe that comes up close to the road, while the other end is in the pond or creek or the river, and it allows fire engines to hook up to it and suction the water out of whatever the water source more easily."
Fort Valley Fire Department, Edinburg Volunteer Fire Company, Woodstock Fire Department, Mount Jackson Rescue and Fire Department, Toms Brook Fire Department, Woodstock rescue Squad, and Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue responded.
Fortsmouth and Rivermont Fire Departments, in Warren County, sent tanker trucks as well.
The Sheriff's Office shut down Hickory Lane so trucks could easily move between the fire and the dry hydrant.
The owner of the house, was able to make other arrangements, and Red Cross was not called, Collins said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or email@example.com