Two fires in the southern end of Shenandoah County on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons displaced the residents who lived there and took the lives of several family pets.
At around 12:40 p.m., a guest driving toward a home in the 14000 block of Middle Road in the area of Bowmans Crossing reported seeing smoke coming from the area of the kitchen when they pulled up to the house, said Shenandoah County Department of Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Bill Streett.
The two-story farmhouse was unoccupied by the husband, wife and two children who live there, Streett said.
The building was built in the early 1900s and as a result, had void spaces in it that allowed the fire to travel from the first floor up to the roof, Streett said.
Fire crews arrived and found heavy fire conditions throughout the entire structure, with involvement in the first floor and portions of the second floor, Streett said. The fire spread into the walls burning up into the roof.
The home was built with plaster slab walls, Streett said, making it a very labor-intensive process to open up the walls and access the fire.
"The crews that we did have [respond] did a phenomenal job," Streett said of the limited resources at the scene.
The building received pretty extensive damage throughout, Streett said. Crews had the blaze under control by about 2:12 p.m. and then left the scene until about 4 p.m.
Four dogs and a cat died as a result of smoke inhalation, Streett said. The American Red Cross is assisting the family.
Crews from Edinburg Fire, Woodstock Fire, Woodstock Rescue, Mount Jackson Rescue and Fire, Conicville Fire, and New Market Fire and Rescue responded to the fire along with the Shenandoah County Department of Fire & Rescue and the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office.
On Tuesday, a fire also originated in the kitchen area of a home in the 11000 block of Orkney Grade, west of Mount Jackson.
A neighbor reported it around 3:30 p.m., Streett said. Crews arrived within minutes and reported heavy fire extending into the roofline of the single-family home.
The fire was able to be contained to the main floor of the single-story ranch-style home, Streett said.
The three adults who lived had closed the door to the stairwell leading to the basement. This helped contain the heat and fire to the upper level of the house, Streett said.
"If there is a fire in the house, it does compartmentalize it," Streett said, of the benefit of closing interior doors.
The fire was under control by around 4:50 p.m. and crews left the scene at around 6:30 p.m, Streett said.
Units responded from Mount Jackson Rescue and Fire, Edinburg Fire, Woodstock Fire, Woodstock Rescue, New Market Fire and Rescue, Conicville Fire, Orkney Springs Fire departments, along with the Shenandoah Department of Fire & Rescue and the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office.
A neighbor of a nearby house was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and no firefighters were injured, Streett said.
Several pets died from smoke inhalation, Streett said.
The cause of both fires remains under investigation, Streett said.