Kirkland Stewart killed in Alexandria fire

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WJLA) - An explosion and fire tore through an Alexandria townhome early Thursday, killing a man believed to be the lone occupant. It broke out in the 6900 block of Deer Run Drive. The fire consumed the townhome and left a neighboring residence heavily damaged.

Photo: Brianne Carter

The fire raged through the home in just seconds. Neighbors report hearing an explosion. The man who lived in the townhome was a heavy smoker and relied on several oxygen tanks, they say.

“I heard an explosion, big explosion,” says Abu Hasan, a neighbor. “Then a couple seconds later I heard another explosion.”

The blast awakened residents of the townhome community around 4 a.m. Frightened neighbors jumped from their beds to find out what had happened.

“Then I opened the patio door and I saw the big fire over there,” Hasan says.

By the time firefighters got it under control, the flames had devastated the townhouse. 

Friends identify the victim as Kirkland Stewart, 68. He had been in very poor health and had very limited mobility. They say his wife died earlier this year.

A woman who lives next door says she tried desperately to get to Stewart.

“I ran around to see if I could get his door open and it was completely consumed by flames,” she says.

Investigators believe the fire began in the basement near a very large oxygen tank. They found Stewart on the first floor near the door of the balcony. He may have been trying to get out, but fire moved too fast. 

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