VIRGINIA

Propane tanks blamed for Woodbridge fire

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WOODBRIDGE, Va. -- Residents say propane tanks were the cause of a raging fire that heavily damaged three Woodbridge townhomes, but fire officials are still investigating.

Photo by WJLA staff

The flames broke out on Merseyside Drive Tuesday afternoon. A pregnant woman, neighbors and a handful of pets raced out of the burning homes. One firefighter had to be taken to a hospital due to smoke inhalation.

“It was literally just billowing out of the house,” said William Deterline, a fire victim.

Witnesses say they could hear an explosion that sparked the fire which sprinted across a row of town homes.

Inside one of these homes was a pregnant Shaina Woo, who raced the flames out of her home.

“I was just panicked and trying to get out and I didn't know what to do,” Woo said. She grabbed her dogs and ran. She made it just in time, as did her neighbors.

Woo says, though, that in the confusion and chaos during the response to the fire, one of the dogs, Echo, ran away.

When firefighters arrived, flames already raged through the upstairs of the corner town home. They entered the first floor to find two tiny dogs cowering in fear. At the same time a frantic Victoria Miller searched for her three cats.

“We found all the kitties we got them in the cages we got out of the house o.k. It was very scary,” Miller said.

Scores of firefighters descended on the Potomac Club Condominiums. It took a concerted effort to fight down the flames. Smoke inhalation sent one firefighter to the hospital.

While the flames and smoke inflicted major damage to the three homes, the occupants are thankful they and their pets got out in time.

Firefighters were called to the blaze off Neabsco Mills Road about 6:30 p.m, InsideNoVa reported. The fire soon went from two alarms to three, with fire apparatus responding from as far away as Manassas.

A fire restoration crew will board up the affected homes ahead of the potential storms expected hit the region today.

Prince William County's Fire Marshal is investigating the fire. There's still no word on a cause. 

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