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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.

lorton fire

Townhome fire killed three in Lorton. (Wendy Galietta/Post)

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.

lortonfire.jpg
Fire tore hole in roof of townhome. (Wendy Galietta/Post)

This item has been updated since it was first published.

-- Tom Jackman and Jennifer Buske

By Washington Post Editors  | September 22, 2010; 3:34 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax, Fires & Fire Safety  
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Comments

"Features a multi-racial mix of residents."

What does this have to do with anything????
It's a house fire where 3 are dead and others injured...Sentences like this just make me wonder............

Posted by: pentagon40 | September 22, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

This is a human tragedy; why mention the fact that "Hagel Circle features a multi-racial mix of residents"? What are you implying with this? FYI people of all races live in most parts of Northern Virginia and the country as a whole. This comment is completely out of line and impares the validity of your report on this tragedy.

Posted by: jcasal | September 22, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

What a tragedy. However, ignorance of the reporters takes away from the emotion of sadness that I would normally be feeling. I am enraged by their "multi-racial" statement. Since it is a multi-racial area, I sense that they feel the loss isn't as great as if in an all-white elitist neighborhood. I would be scared to visit the neighborhood Tom Jackman and Jennifer Buske live in. I assume that only certain members of my "multi-racially mixed" family would be welcome there?

Posted by: CalmTruth | September 22, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

that was just a bad choice of words, a "diverse neighborhood" would have been a better way to put it. and to the last comment... i think Tom Jackman is black. it doesn't if he is or isn't, but it sounded like you were implying he was rich and white.

Posted by: destewar | September 22, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

The loss of life is very sad and my heart goes out to the surviving children who will now face life without their mother. If the electricity was out for several days then I doubt there were working smoke detectors. It sounds as though this young mother with five children was suffering financial difficulties and really needed some of the social services Fairfax County offers. How sad that these children paid with their lives.

Posted by: baileyfx | September 22, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"the woman's boyfriend was the adult who survived"

Hmmmm.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | September 22, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Jackman and or Ms. Buske as African-American makes no difference.That statement about the racial mixture of the neighborhood is bigoted and meant to minimize the value of the lives of that community. African-Americans have internalized the racial hatred of white America and often externalize this self-hatred to reflect the values of the larger white community.

Posted by: diva_at_home | September 22, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

This is Tom Jackman, and the comments here about the "multi-racial" line are correct. I was trying to express that people of all races live there -- plenty of white people, black people, and all other shades. I don't know the race of the victim family. The neighbors we quoted were from various races. I was not attempting to minimize anyone's value. The loss is equally great, in whatever neighborhood it occurred. But really, the line was irrelevant. That line will not appear in the final story, and I appreciate the observations.

Posted by: TomJackman | September 22, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

first I want say my that my prayers are with this woman's family and i also pray that god watch over the little one's that made it out of the house, i use to live in that same house just two years ago, with my two children as well my daugther who is 7yrs now, went to william halley elementary and my son who is 3yrs now use to go to the same child care provider aswell. this is not shocking to me that this had happened to this family in this house. what is shocking is that this man is still able to rent this home out to people. i just cant beleive it! I use to live in that dump! living in this house with my section 8 voucher, was not worth the price for rent he made me pay! i never lived in a house so nasty, but i needed a place to stay with my two small children to get on my feet because i was a single parent trying to start over. when i moved in, Mr. Andre resendez seemed so nice, and understanding! but he was totally not that guy. the house was nasty! everything was old, he never liked fixing things, when i first moved in with my two small children, things seemed put together. but weeks later things start falling apart in the house, the Air conditioner unit on the second floor leaked from the second floor through the ceiling to the front door. It took Mr. Resendez a week to fix it , and my daugther being an "chronic asthmatic" went in and out of the hospital because of the mold from the "AC" leaking through the ceiling to the front door, to the carpet. I had problem's with the stove, wash/dryer, and the house had alot of electrical Hazards that was suppose to be fixed before i moved in there. but he didnt he put stuff together so that the Health Department would not right him up for violation of not taking care of the tings he said was going to do in the lease contract he gave me. Mr. Resendez never fixed things properly.. this man should be ashamed of his self. I felt so depressed from him not being a good landlord i left. My love and blessing goes out to the mother and precious babies that past in this man's home. SWI

Posted by: shannonwise | September 23, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

baileyfx wrote: "If the electricity was out for several days then I doubt there were working smoke detectors." Ummmm, smoke detectors use a 9 volt battery. SMH!!!

Posted by: Chazo | September 23, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

I have been around this family for some years and it is so sad the tragedy that I have seen them go through in the most recent years. I pray for all of you and you all will continue to be in my prayers and thoughts. All the children are just so beautiful and they have alot of challenges ahead but I am most certain that God will over see all. I am so so sorry Alle and my heart bleeds for you. You are a hero im my eyes. Nothing like love of a mother for her children and I know you couldn't have ever chosen. :( TB & Family

Posted by: tbwhyaskwhy | September 23, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

destewar - I also despise the term "diverse". Working in a law firm, during recruiting season, I often heard prospective attorneys being introduced as "diversity candidates". I've seen many leave after the interview offended. I'm offended for them. Some people just have no clue. I left that particular Atlanta-based Washington DC firm shortly thereafter.

Posted by: CalmTruth | September 23, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

How about instead calling it a "non-bigoted, tolerant neighborhood"?

Posted by: CalmTruth | September 23, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

To the diva at home: Your comment about "racial hatred of white America" is over the top and I'm tired of hearing it. There is no hatred in the author's statement, but there is in yours. I'm white and never hear comments of hatred toward blacks, never witness it, and don't display hatred toward them myself. Comments like that just stir up trouble, are reverse prejudice, and are hateful in themselves. Move on with your life with a positive attitude; it will serve you well. Remember, you reap what you sow.

Posted by: carolk1 | September 23, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

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