WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) — The Waynesboro Fire Department responded the 800 block of Grayson Ave. around 4:30 Friday morning for reports of a house fire.
Fire destroys home on Grayson Ave. in Waynesboro. | Credit: WHSV
When the fire department arrived, the incident commander found thick smoke conditions coming from the single-family home.
All occupants were able to evacuate; however, some sustained various levels of burn injuries, and all occupants sustained some degree of smoke inhalation injuries.
A family friend said an elderly resident is suffering very bad burns, but other family members are recovering.
Two pets were unable to make it out of the home and died as a result of the fire.
The Waynesboro Fire Department was assisted by fire crews from Dooms Volunteer Fire Department and Augusta County Fire and Rescue to extinguish the fire.
After an investigation, the cause of the fire was determined to be a chimney fire that was able to escape into the attic space through a cracked chimney liner.
The fire engulfed the attic space before burning through the walls and waking up the residents.
"There was a lot of fire on the walls in the attic space because of where it started in the chimney flue and it spread out in the floor joist in the attic from there," Captain Chandler Hardy, with the Waynesboro Fire Department, said.
Fire crews on scene found it difficult to extinguish the fire due to the age of the structure, type of construction, storage in the structure and below freezing temperatures.
"The home was well built, but there was lots of lumber that we had to remove by hand and with saws to access this fire and that made it very difficult to access since the fire was behind it in the void spaces," Hardy said.
The fire was marked under control about one hour after crews arrived, but the entire house was destroyed by the fire.
The Waynesboro Fire Marshal's Office estimates the fire loss is around $48,000 to include the home and what was inside.
Additional departments that responded to the fire were the Waynesboro First Aid Crew and the Waynesboro Police Department. The first aid crew transported three patients. Two went to a local hospital, and one person was flown to a burn unit for injuries sustained from the fire.
The Waynesboro Fire Department encourages all individuals who use wood burning stoves to have their chimneys inspected on a regular basis prior to use. They said it is also important to ensure the chimney remains clean with regularly scheduled maintenance. Lastly, the fire department said to maintain at least a three ft. clearance between all combustibles and the wood burning stove, ensuring that all building code requirements are met when installing one.
"We do recommend that folks with wood burning stoves do have their flues checked annually, as well as keep a clearance of at least three feet of anything that could burn away from heating and appliances as well," Hardy said.
A family friend said the family lost all of their belongings in the fire. She said one resident is pregnant and also lost the supplies she was collecting for her baby that is due in the summer.
A family friend said she started a donation page
to make sure the family is fed, clothed and kept warm during this devastating loss.