Firefighters worked to douse a large fire in an Arlington, Virginia, apartment block early Monday, prompting evacuations and displacing dozens of residents.
First responders headed to the 3000 block of South Randolph Street in Arlington’s Shirlington neighborhood, just off southbound Interstate 395, for an attic fire that started around 6 a.m. Monday.
Images tweeted by the Arlington Fire Department show heavy flames and smoke, extending from balconies up to the roof of a low-rise apartment building. Between 40 and 60 residents were displaced; one resident was treated for minor injures and no fire personnel were hurt.
Video of fire in the shirlington area. Expect a large fire department presence and smoke in the area. pic.twitter.com/b74bs8dbzf
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) May 24, 2021
“We’re very happy that everyone’s safe,” fire department spokesman Taylor Blunt told WTOP. Residents of unaffected areas were allowed back inside around 10:30 a.m. — more than four hours after they were evacuated.
Jemaine Liverette, who lives in the side of the building where the fire began, woke before dawn to a racket of alarm bells that she originally mistook for her phone ringing.
“When I opened the door, I smelled a stench of wood burning,” Liverette said. “Then I heard a guy banging on doors on the side where the fire was, saying, ‘it’s a fire guys, get out,’ so I put on clothes and ran outside.”
Another resident, Sheree Johnson, expressed relief that the building’s tenants heeded warnings and escaped safely, given a recent history of false alarms.
“What’s really scary for me is that we’re so nonchalant about this in this building,” Johnson said. “It could have been a lot worse, because we honestly just roll back over … it’s a wake-up call for everyone.”
The Alexandria firefighters union said some of its members assisted Arlington in putting out the three-alarm blaze. Fairfax County units also joined the effort.
Below is a map of the area:
WTOP’s Melissa Howell contributed to this report.