High winds caused a power line to short and spark a fire that burned a wooded area and destroyed a trailer home Monday, Warren County officials determined.
The Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services received a call at approximately 2 p.m. Monday for a residential structure fire in the area of the 200 block of Summit Drive in Front Royal, according to a release issued by the agency Tuesday afternoon.
Crews arrived to find a single-story, single-wide house trailer and an addition engulfed in flames, the agency reported. Crews also discovered approximately 1 acre of a wooded area on fire.
Warren County Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico explained by phone Tuesday how he believes the blaze started.
“Due to the high wind conditions (Monday), there was a short in the electrical line running toward the house that ultimately caused an electrical event, which ignited the ground-cover fire,” Maiatico said. “Those winds caused that ground-cover fire to rapidly spread to the structure and ignite the structure from the outside.”
No one was in the trailer at the time of the fire, Maiatico said.
Firefighters worked to put out both blazes. Crews remained outside the trailer for their safety. The Virginia Department of Forestry assisted firefighters as they worked to put out the blaze in the woods.
Crews brought the fire under control within approximately an hour. Firefighters stayed on the scene for several more hours to make sure they extinguished the blaze and to assist the Fire Marshal’s Office and the Virginia Department of Forestry.
The Front Royal Police Department assisted with traffic control on John Marshal Highway because firefighters needed to use the town’s hydrants during the operation. The highway was closed for several hours.
The Front Royal Police Department Criminal Investigation Division, the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Front Royal Electric Department assisted at the scene.
“So it was a labor-intensive investigation,” Maiatico said. “While there was power at the pole and (electric) meter, it was determined that there was no physical power running to the house, so when you have an abandoned house with no power and, theoretically, no one’s supposed to be there, you just want to rule out any type of malicious or criminal behavior.”
Crews from fire departments in Front Royal, Rivermont, Shenandoah Farms and Linden responded to the incident.