Civilians hurt during fire rescue attempt

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News fire officials say two civilians received minor injuries Monday after going into a burning house to rescue people they thought were trapped inside.

Battalion Chief Stephen Pincus with Newport News Fire Department said crews responded to a two-story house fire in the 100 block of Monarch Drive around 7 p.m. Upon arrival, heavy flames were coming from the first floor.

Video: Bystander’s cell phone video of fire

“Firefighting crews immediately advanced hoselines into the home as they began searching the residence,” Pincus said. “The fire moved rapidly through the home, involving the second floor and the attic area. Therefore, the incident commander ordered the firefighting crews to come out of the building while a ladder truck sprayed large volumes of water to knock the main body of fire down.”

Once most of the fire was extinguished, crews re-entered the structure to finish putting out the fire. Pincus said firefighters were able to control the blaze by 8:12 p.m.

Pincus said two civilians tried to go in the house before the fire department arrived because they thought people were trapped inside. Both had to retreat from the residence because the smoke and heat was too intense. They received minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

A relative of the residents told WAVY.com no one was home at the time of the fire. Pincus said there were no other injuries.

The fire caused severe damage to the home and melted siding on an adjacent house. Virginia Dominion Power and Virginia Natural Gas both responded to the scene, and Pincus said the structure will be condemned.

Three residents have been displaced, and The American Red Cross is assisting the family.

The cause of the fire was determined to be an accident due to an electrical problem.

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