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April 4, 2019

Fire quickly consumes house near Warrenton

Photos/Lawrence Emerson
The collapsing roof forced firefighters to retreat from inside the home at 6062 Greenpark Lane near Warrenton on Thursday afternoon.
Firefighters attack the blaze, which apparently started in the garage.
I shut the (garage) door, grabbed my phone and headed out the front door with the dogs.
— Sherry Nichols
A Warrenton woman and her three dogs escaped Thursday afternoon as fire consumed their house on a quiet, dead-end street just east of town.

Firefighters had to retreat from the three-bedroom rambler at 6062 Greenpark Lane as roof trusses began to crumble in the fast-moving blaze.

Standing in a neighbor’s driveway, Sherry Nichols tearfully described what happened in the home where she and her husband Jim have lived since 1983.

“I had baby chicks that hatched out of an incubator in my garage,” Mrs. Nichols said.

A couple of weeks ago, a pine tree fell just up the street and damaged a utility pole, she said. A Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative crew came back Thursday morning to replace the pole and cut power to do so.

Mrs. Nicholas said she had moved the heat lamp that warmed the chicks in her garage and forgot about it while the electricity remained off from about 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Almost a half-hour later, she noticed smoke in her backyard.

Then, she opened the door from the house to the garage and saw flames.

“I shut the (garage) door, grabbed my phone and headed out the front door with the dogs,” Mrs. Nichols said. She called 911 to report: “My house is on fire.”

A dispatcher answered her call at 1:27 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office.

Then, she called Mr. Nichols, who quickly left his job in Gainesville.

Mrs. Nicholas said she thinks the heat lamp ignited a rug on the garage floor.

“I had about two dozen chicks,” she said. “Last January, my son in Remington had a house fire. I started the chicks for him.

“I lost my baby chicks.”

The fire also destroyed their home, built in 1975, and most of its contents.

Mr. and Mrs. Nichols raised their three children in the home. They have eight grandchildren.

Dozens of firefighters from all of Fauquier, along with units from Prince William County, responded to the blaze.

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