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UPDATED: Two Dead in Early Morning Fire

(Updated at 9:00 a.m.) Two people have been killed in an early morning house fire in the Columbia Forest neighborhood.

The two-alarm blaze was reported at 4:17 a.m., at a house on the 1100 block of S. Emerson Street, not far from Wakefield High School.

Firefighters arrived at 4:23 a.m. and found heavy fire extending from the first floor to the second floor. They also encountered an adult and a child who had escaped the fire, standing outside and yelling that another adult and child were trapped inside.

It took about 15 minutes to get the fire under control, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani. Firefighters found the trapped adult and child deceased inside the house.

WJLA reported that the two survivors were an adult man and his middle school-aged daughter. They were transported to Medstar Washington Hospital Center and Children’s National Medical Center, respectively, said Marchegiani.

As is standard procedure for a major fatal fire, Arlington County fire marshals, police and ATF agents are all investigating the blaze.

“It’s going to be a slow and methodical process,” said Marchegiani. “I don’t anticipate any updates today on the cause of the fire.”

In a press release this afternoon, fire officials say the home lacked working smoke detectors.

Early this morning, Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) responded to a house fire at 1106 S. Emerson St. that claimed the lives of two of the occupants. Firefighters arrived to find two victims outside the home with reports of two additional people trapped inside. Firefighters encountered a large volume of fire on the first and second floors. They called a second alarm, bringing a total of approximately 70 firefighters to the scene, including personnel from Fairfax Fire and Rescue Department and Alexandria Fire Department. It took approximately 15 minutes to bring the fire under control and locate the bodies of the two deceased victims.

The two victims found outside the home were transported by medic unit for smoke inhalation and burns to Medstar Washington Hospital Center and Children’s National Medical Center, both in stable condition.

ACFD Fire Marshals are investigating the origin and cause of the fire, with assistance from Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

One occupant reported the home had no working smoke alarms and they were alerted to the fire by the sound of crackling. Smoke alarms allow for early warning of a fire, increasing the time for escape and the chances of survival.

ACFD urges everyone to:

  • Install smoke alarms on every floor and in every bedroom.
  • Test the alarms every month by pushing the test button.
  • Change the batteries in the alarms twice a year with daylight savings time.
  • Replace all alarms every 10 years, or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Ensure every person in your home knows and practices your home escape plan. Include a plan for anyone in your home that needs assistance evacuating. Remember to have two ways out of every room, get low, close the door behind you, go to your family meeting place and once outside, stay outside.

Read more information on smoke alarms or request a smoke alarm if you cannot afford to purchase one.

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