Fires destroy, damage two residences

A fire early Saturday morning destroyed a residence in the 1800 block of North Royal Avenue in Front Royal and forced two occupants to flee the structure.

Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie reported that one of the two occupants was injured when she fell on her face, but refused transport to a hospital.

“Her injuries were superficial,” Mabie said.

Mabie estimated the value of the house at $125,000.

Mabie said firefighters were called to the scene at 5:49 a.m. and found the first floor of the building in flames.

The fire marshal’s office concluded that the fire began as a result of improperly discarded smoking materials, and the home had no working smoke alarms.

Mabie said the Red Cross helped the occupants find temporary shelter and also provided other assistance to them.

The North Royal Avenue fire was one of three that Warren County firefighters responded to over the weekend.

An earlier fire reported around 10:18 p.m. Friday brought firefighters to 341 Osage St. next door to the scene of three recent residential fires that have been under investigation as arsons.

The fire at 341 Osage St. caused $30,000 damage and forced two of the four occupants to flee the burning structure, Mabie said. The other two occupants were not at home.

No injuries were reported.

Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico said the cause of the fire is still under investigation by his agency and the Front Royal Police Department.

“We’re not in a position to release that information yet,” Maiatico said about the cause of the fire.

Mabie said the fire, which enveloped first floor apartment doors and windows, was quickly extinguished after firefighters arrived at the scene.

The fires next door at 339 Osage St., on Nov. 29, Jan. 25 and Jan. 27, have all been classified as arsons by the Fire Marshal’s office. No arrests have been made.

Another fire minutes earlier on Friday night caused minor damage to a Norfolk Southern Railroad locomotive in the area of John Marshall Highway and Faith Way around 9:48 p.m.
Mabie said the locomotive was in an area that could not be reached with fire trucks. The engineer backed up the train about 100 yards until the locomotive reached a rail crossing where firefighters could reach it.

Mabie said the fire, which was caused by a fuel leak in one of the engines, was quickly extinguished once the locomotive was moved to the rail crossing.

The train was able to continue on its route after the locomotive was repaired, Mabie said.

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

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