Former Virginia Gov. and Sen. Chuck Robb and wife injured after McLean house fire

Fire Investigators have been on the scene trying to determine the cause of the McLean fire. (Courtesy Fairfax County Fire & Rescue)

Former Virginia Gov. and U.S. Sen. Chuck Robb and his wife, Lynda, sustained injuries as a massive fire destroyed their McLean home late Tuesday.

“The Robb family confirmed their parents had no life-threatening injuries and had been transported by ambulance to the hospital. They were the only occupants at the time of the fire,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement Wednesday.

Luci Baines Johnson, Lynda’s sister, told WTOP her brother-in-law, Chuck Robb, was hospitalized with burns but has since been released. Her sister, who suffered smoke inhalation, remains hospitalized. Lynda Bird Johnson Robb is the eldest daughter of former President Lyndon Johnson.

“Linda Robb continues treatment for smoke inhalation and some injuries to her arm, elbow and hand,” Tom Johnson, the family’s spokesman, said.

In Northam’s statement, the couple’s three daughters said, “Our entire family is deeply grateful to the firefighters for their rapid response and the medical professionals who are taking care of them. We have what is most important to us — our mom and dad.”

All three daughters have come to their parents said, Tom Johnson said, along with well-wishes from across the nation.

“It’s an enormous turnout of support and offers of help from around the country for both of them,” he said.

Johnson, a longtime family friend and spokesman who served as the former spokesman for President Lyndon Johnson, told WTOP that the multimillion-dollar house on Chain Bridge Road is a total loss. The home has an estimated value of $3.4 million, according to Fairfax County property records.

“There were so many documents, gifts, certificates, (scrap) books of their years together, several items that had been passed down from President and Lady Bird Johnson,” said Tom Johnson.

Investigators say it may be days or weeks before the cause of the blaze is determined.

Robb served as Virginia’s governor from 1982 to 1986 and represented Virginia in the U.S. Senate from 1989 to 2001.

Fairfax County first responders were called to the 600 block of Chain Bridge Road around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday for a fire burning in the house’s first floor.

A second alarm was later called to bring in additional resources as flames spread to the home’s roof and enveloped much of the structure.



Flames and smoke from the McLean fire were seen in the night sky for miles. A driver who saw the blaze from the opposite side of the Potomac River called Montgomery County emergency services, believing it was in a Maryland neighborhood.

It was also visible from across the Chain Bridge in the District.

Units from Arlington and Montgomery counties assisted the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in responding to the blaze. No firefighters were injured.

According to Northam, the Robbs had lived in the home for nearly 50 years.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein reported from McLean. WTOP’s Dick Uliano, Matt Small, Colleen Kelleher, Andrew Alsbrooks and Alicia Abelson contributed to this story.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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