Just after 3 am on Friday, October 23, 2020, Fire and Rescue units were dispatched to the 700 block of Northern Spy Drive in the Apple Mountain section of Warren County for a reported house explosion and fire.
Units arrived to find a single story single family dwelling, a detached garage and two vehicles significantly involved in fire.
Firefighters also discovered the fire was spreading to the woodland areas surrounding the home. Based on the amount of fire involvement and structural condition of the home, firefighters initiated an exterior/defensive fire suppression operation. Firefighters also worked quickly to ensure the fire was contained and did not pose a risk the surrounding homes. It took firefighters approximately 2 hours to bring the fire under control. Firefighters were challenged with limited access to the home which made fire suppression efforts difficult.
The Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office arrived and began the investigation into the origin and cause of the fire and reported explosion. During the course of the investigation, a human occupant was discovered deceased inside the home. Investigators from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit joined the investigation. It was further determined that the reported explosion(s) were a result of the fire incident spreading to multiple compressed gas cylinders around the home. The deceased occupant was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner where it was determined that the victim sustained a self-inflected gunshot wound. The identity of the victim is pending confirmation from the Medical Examiner’s Office.
The Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Division led the joint investigation. Agencies received assistance from the Front Royal Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Unit, the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office K-9 Division, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police.
This incident still remains under investigation as an apparent arson/suicide. Anyone with more information about the incident can contact Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico at 540-636-3830 or Sheriff’s Office Investigator Jeremy Seabright at 540-635-4128.
From a Warren County Sheriff’s Office release