A fire at a home at East Stonewall Drive and Jackson Street in Front Royal on Tuesday caused significant damage, roughly estimated at $100,000, according to Warren County Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico.
Clayton Estes, who rents the home and is its lone resident, could only watch as it burned. Fire officials said he did not have renters insurance.
Estes said this is the second time he has been displaced, recalling a blaze five years ago. Now, he said, it “looks like I done lost everything again.”
Estes was not at home when the fire started. His neighbor Fontella Fewell saw rising smoke and called him.
Fewell said the fire seemingly started in the carport behind the house and moved to the building “just like a flash.”
“There were some bad flames; it burned fast,” she said.
When contacted on Wednesday afternoon, Estes was busy and declined an interview.
Warren County Fire Chief Richard Mabie said the fire appeared to have started near the carport. He noted that the fire is not considered suspicious at this time but that it is still under investigation.
Maiatico said the fire was reported at 7:44 p.m. and that it was on the carport and spreading.
“By the time the first unit arrived, it was a working fire that had already gotten to the home,” Maiatico said.
Firefighters were not sure if anyone was in the home and immediately began an aggressive interior attack to conduct a search and possible rescue. This helped prevent the fire from spreading through the entire home, Maiatico said.
He said the home’s balloon frame construction allowed the fire to spread inside the walls from the outside in and from the first floor to the second floor up into the attic. The fire inside the walls meant it took firefighters more time to bring it under control.
Maiatico said there are numerous possible fire causes located within the carport, and investigators are working to eliminate them as the cause of the fire.