Fire forces family from home

Six people were evacuated and two injured in a house fire early Friday morning at 706 River Drive in Front Royal.

A news release from Warren County Fire and Rescue Services Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie said firefighters were called out at 3:11 a.m. to a brick single family home where they found fire coming from the rear basement windows and heavy smoke from the roof.

Mabie said all six family members, including an infant, had made it to safety by the time firefighters arrived. Several escaped by jumping from windows, Mabie said.

Mabie said firefighters entered through the carport door to an interior basement door and performed “a quick knockdown of the main body of fire.”

The fire was brought under control by 3:42 a.m.

Mabie said the fire caused about $25,000 damage to the house, owned by Howard and Carol Johnson. Mabie estimated another $20,000 worth of contents inside the house were damaged.

Carol Johnson was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and minor cuts suffered when she jumped through a bedroom window, Mabie said. A career firefighter injured his shoulder while attempting a forced entry into the basement, Mabie said. The extent of the firefighter’s injury is unknown.

Mabie said the Fire Marshal’s office concluded that the fire was started by a portable electric space heater placed too close to combustibles in the basement.

The Winchester chapter of the Red Cross provided assistance to the Johnson family after the fire.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or

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