Firefighters respond to two major house fires at Lake Monticello


Lake Monticello and Fluvanna County firefighters responded to two major structure fires at Lake Monticello within a six-hour period on Monday (Nov. 6).

The Lake Monticello, Palmyra, Fork Union, and Kent Store Fire Departments were dispatched to the 800 block of Jefferson Drive for multiple reports of a serious house fire early that afternoon. Within two minutes Lake Monticello firefighters were on the scene and reported heavy fire involvement to the front areas of the home and that the occupants had escaped the structure, without injury, and were outside.  

The firefighters began an aggressive fire attack, with multiple hose lines placed in operation and after a short period of time knocked down the main body of fire. Hidden fire was trapped in the attic areas of the structure and while the firefighters attempted to expose the fire and extinguish it, they found the integrity of the second floor to be uncertain. 

To protect the firefighters, Lake Monticello Fire Department tower ladder was placed into operation and from the second-floor windows and eaves, employed the large caliber hose streams from the bucket of the tower ladder, thereby providing safety and stability to the firefighters inside the bucket, while extinguishing all visible fire. Firefighters were then able to re-enter the home and expose the hidden areas to completely extinguish the fires.

Again, there were no civilian nor firefighter injuries, however due to the massive damage to the home and its’ contents, the family were not able to occupy the home. The American Red Cross was contacted and responded and placed the family into temporary housing.

The origin and cause of this fire is still on-going with no determination made at the time of this writing. Investigators were unable to complete their investigation last night due to darkness and instability of the structure and safety considerations. Investigators will return to the scene to complete their investigation. 

The Lake Monticello Police Department closed Jefferson Drive to vehicle and pedestrian traffic for the duration of the firefighting operations which lasted approximately four hours.

Dominion Power responded to disconnect the electrical power to the home for firefighter safety.

The rescue squad was on standby duty at the scene in the event of injuries to firefighters.

Earlier in the day, firefighters responded at 8:35 a.m. to a home on Axle Tree Road where a fire started on the wooden deck located in the rear of the premises. The homeowner reported that while watching television he heard “popping” coming from the windows of his home. Upon investigating the source of the noise, he saw a red glow through the windows in the area of kitchen. When he inspected the source of the glow, he observed a temporary polyethylene greenhouse he had placed on the rear deck to protect a tropical tree, was on fire. The flames from the greenhouse involved the wooden decking, traveling upward to include the wooden siding of the home. The fire continued to burn and eventually burned the wooden soffit. The fire breached the soffit and was making its way to the interior attic space of the home.     

The homeowner called 911 and reported the fire to Fluvanna County dispatch, which sent the Lake Monticello, Palmyra, and Fork Union fire departments. The homeowner began to extinguish the fire with a garden hose and held it in check until the arrival of the Lake Monticello Fire Department, who were on the scene in less than four minutes. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and began to remove building materials above and behind the involved areas to ensure that the fire had not burned into the house. The firefighters placed a high-powered fan into operation that removed the large amount of smoke in the attic and living spaces of the home. The quick actions of the homeowner are credited with preventing a more serious and damaging fire to his home.

After the fire, the family was still able to occupy their home. No civilians or firefighters were injured during this incident. The origin and cause of the fire was conducted by investigators from the Lake Monticello Fire Department who have ruled the cause to be accidental. 

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