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1 dead, buildings uninhabitable after Centreville fire

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue said 13 units remained uninhabitable on Monday morning, following a fire in the 13600 block of Bent Tree Circle in the vicinity of Centreville, Virginia. There was one confirmed death. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

One person is dead and two buildings are uninhabitable after a blaze tore through an apartment complex in Centreville, Virginia early Monday morning.

The fire started around 1 a.m. Monday. Neighbors called 911 and banged on doors in three-floor garden style apartments in the 13600 block of Bent Tree Circle.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Capt. Tracey Reed said the fire was extinguished quickly, but water continued to be sprayed on hot spots until around 5 a.m. The scene has cleared, though some investigators remain.

Two six-unit buildings are uninhabitable, as is one unit from a third building.

“There was fire on all three floors and up to the roof,” Reed said. “We had a heavy volume of fire when we arrived on the scene.”

It remains unclear where the deceased resident was found, having been located during the initial search as firefighters simultaneously worked to extinguish the fire and search for trapped residents. A cause of death had yet to be determined as of Monday morning.

While most inhabitants safely escaped the flames, firefighters forced entry into one unit, where they found a resident walking inside the smoke-filled apartment.

“It’s not clear if they were disoriented by smoke, or why they couldn’t get out, but they were escorted out of the building,” Reed said.

Fire investigators and police are conducting an investigation into the cause of the fire. Initial findings did not indicate a suspicious cause, Reed said.

The Red Cross is assisting 30 displaced occupants from 13 apartment units, providing vouchers and assistance for hotel accommodations and other temporary housing.

Jamie Alvarez, a spokesman for Aimco, the owner and operator of Bent Tree apartments, said the company is “helping transfer and place affected residents internally and with nearby sister communities.”

Alvarez later said most of the affected residents have been transferred to available apartments within the community, and added the affected buildings will remain closed during the investigation and the company “will notify residents when the buildings are safe to enter.”

In a tweet, Fairfax County and Fire said damages totaled over $610,000.

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