Fire damages Front Royal home, destroys contents

By Katie Demeria

Flames damaged a Front Royal home Saturday afternoon.

Warren County Fire and Rescue units were called to 420 Duncan Ave. at 1:30 p.m. after a neighbor observed flames coming from the structure, according to Chief Richard Mabie.

A news release stated that responders were told occupants may be inside the building at the time, but after the main body of the fire was knocked down and a primary search was made, no one was found inside.

“Most of the fire was inside the porch and the back room,” Mabie said. “It was a wooden addition made to the house many years ago. So it was built around the bedroom windows and a kitchen window and a dining room window, and once the fire got hot enough the glass in those windows failed and allowed the fire to end up inside the house.”

According to the news release, the fire extended to the second floor and roof void spaces, “causing much labor intensive work.” The flames were not under control until 2:47 p.m.

“One firefighter was treated on scene for heat exhaustion by Valley Medical Transport but not transported to [a] hospital,” the release stated.

Ronald Breen and his wife were renting the building from owner Treacy Taylor of Winchester, the release stated. The renter’s two dogs, cat and bird succumbed to heat and smoke inhalation.

One puppy was rescued by a Front Royal police officer and taken to Winchester Animal Hospital, according to the release.

The Warren County fire marshall is investigating the cause of the fire. The release stated that the damage is estimated at $100,000 to the dwelling, with $60,000 in damage to the contents.

Taylor, it stated, had the home insured, but the Breens “lost everything and had no insurance.”

“The family is still working with the [Top of Virginia Chapter of the American Red Cross],” Mabie said. “The whole thing is very sad.”

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or

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