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UPDATED: Massive fire at former Va. governor’s Chain Bridge Road mansion

Massive house fire on Chain Bridge Road, as seen from D.C. (via @jlilley626/Twitter)

(Updated at 1:25 p.m.) The long-time mansion of former Virginia Senator Chuck Robb is ablaze just over the Arlington border.

Firefighters from Arlington and Fairfax counties were dispatched to the home on the 600 block of Chain Bridge Road just after 11:30 p.m. Arriving firefighters reported fire throughout the first floor of the home, which quickly spread to upper floors and the roof.

The massive blaze could be seen from across the Potomac in both D.C. and Maryland, while a haze and the smell of smoke wafted over Arlington neighborhoods more than a mile away.

Chain Bridge Road is closed in both directions due to the emergency activity, which now also involves units from the Montgomery County, Maryland fire department.

According to scanner traffic, both occupants of the house made it out, but may have suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation. They were taken to a local hospital via ambulance.

Due to heavy fire, firefighters were only able to battle the blaze from outside the home. Around midnight, units on the scene reported that trees near the house were starting to catch fire.

The mansion has been owned by Sen. Robb and his wife Lynda, daughter of former president Lyndon B. Johnson, since the 1970s, property records show. In the 1990s a large addition brought the brick home overlooking the Potomac to nearly 20,000 square feet and 19 bedrooms, according to a newspaper report at the time.

The home is likely to be a total or near-total loss.

Robb, 82, published a memoir earlier this year. He also served as governor of Virginia from 1982-1986.

The stretch of Chain Bridge Road around the fire includes some of the priciest homes in the D.C. area. On either side of the Robb property is a sprawling estate owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and The Falls, an estate on the Arlington side of the border that sold for $45 million in 2020. Arlington fire units were dispatched to that heavily-guarded property, which features a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed guest house and whose buyer was never publicly revealed, for a report of smoke alarms going off during the firefighting effort next door.

More via social media:

On Wednesday, Gov. Ralph Northam said he was “saddened” by the fire, a sentiment echoed by other Virginia elected leaders.

The governor’s office also released the following statement from the Robb family.

The residence of former Governor Chuck Robb and former Virginia First Lady Lynda Robb sustained major damage Tuesday evening as fire engulfed their home of nearly 50 years.

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.

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

Hat tip to Alan Henney

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