3 dead, 4 hurt in morning Lorton fire
A Fairfax County mother lowered three of her children out of a burning townhouse to safety Wednesday morning, but she and her other two children were then killed by the blaze, Fairfax fire officials said.
Seven people -- a woman, her five children and a man -- lived in the townhouse on Hagel Circle in the Lorton area just off Route 1. The fire was reported at 8:30 a.m., Fairfax fire spokesman Dan Schmidt said.
When firefighters arrived, the man and three of the children had already escaped the blaze, Schmidt said.
Firefighters used a ladder to enter the second floor of the burning townhouse and found the three deceased victims, Schmidt said. Their names and ages were not available Wednesday afternoon.
The man and the children -- a 2-month-old baby girl, and 6- and 8-year-old boys -- were taken to the Burn Center at Washington Hospital Center, where their injuries were described as non-life threatening.
Investigators have not been able to enter the burned home yet to determine a cause of the fire, Schmidt said.
Smoke was still wafting out of the townhouse through an upstairs window early Wednesday afternoon. The roof appeared crumpled and black soot stains ran down the side.
The surviving baby was flown by helicopter to the Burn Center at Washington Hospital Center, Schmidt said, and the other three were taken by ambulance.
The three victims who did not survive were already dead when firefighters reached them, Schmidt said, so it could not be immediately determined whether they were killed by the fire. Autopsies will be performed tomorrow morning by the state medical examiner.
A neighbor who said she was a close friend of the residents said a young stay-at-home mother lived there with her five children, and the woman's boyfriend was the adult who survived.
Stacey Wood, 26, said she heard an explosion this morning and thought it was a gunshot. She looked outside and saw flames coming from the nearby townhouse, and then she saw the woman's boyfriend run outside screaming, calling the woman's name, Wood said.
Wood said the electricity had gone out in the woman's residence several days ago, and she had taken the woman to buy candles. The woman did not have a phone, Wood said.
Wood sat cross-legged, in a daze, on the curb across from the burned townhouse. "I'm in shock," she said. "I have to keep stopping myself from crying."
She said the woman's children were "always playing outside, and always seemed happy. The kids used to knock on my door, pressing their faces against the glass," Wood said.
She said she had been in the woman's residence Tuesday night, and left around 10:30 p.m.
Wood said the woman told her, "I'll be over early in the morning," and that was their last conversation.
Hagel Circle features a multi-racial mix of residents, living in a community that was built in 1973, records show.
This item has been updated since it was first published.
-- Tom Jackman and Jennifer Buske
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