Warren County authorities say firefighters found a man's body at the scene of a house fire in Linden early Friday morning.
The Warren County Emergency Dispatch Center received a call at 3:04 a.m. Friday of a reported explosion at a house on Northern Spy Drive in Linden, according to information from the Department of Fire and Rescue Services and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
Warren County Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico said by phone Friday evening that crews first arrived on the scene 11 minutes after the center received the call. Crews were delayed in responding because there was confusion as to the exact location of the incident, Maiatico said. By the time firefighters arrived at the scene, the house was fully engulfed in flames, he said,
But investigators determined the house caught fire first and the blaze caused gas tanks to explode.
“After further investigation from this morning, we have determined that this was a house fire that created an explosion of compressed gas cylinders around the house,” Maiatico said. “It was not, in theory, a structure that exploded.”
Firefighters arrived at the scene where they discovered the body of a deceased man inside the house, Maiatico said. The body has been taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine the cause of death. Authorities are not releasing the name of the deceased until the medical examiner provides a positive identification of the body, Maiatico said.
Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire that led to the explosion.
“The fire destroyed an approximately 1,100-square-foot, single-family dwelling, a detached garage and two vehicles,” Maiatico said. “It was a significant fire incident - that there were multiple propane cylinders involved in the incident is likely what the cause of the reported explosion was.
“Again, there is no indication that the house exploded and caused the fire,” Maiatico added.
The Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Division led the joint investigation. Agencies received assistance from the Front Royal Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Unit, the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office K-9 Division, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police.
“I will tell you that we are seeking the public’s assistance,” Maiatico said. “We know that it is in a mountainous, residential area and we are asking anybody that has any photographs or videos of the incident to please reach out to the office of the Fire Marshal (or the Sheriff’s Office).”
Anyone with more information about the incident can contact Maiatico at 540-636-3830 or Sheriff’s Office Investigator Jeremy Seabright at 540-635-4128.