One firefighter killed, several injured in Virginia home explosion


One firefighter was killed — and at least nine other firefighters and two civilians injured — in a massive home explosion in Northern Virginia’s Loudoun County Friday night, officials said.

In a news briefing, Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief of Operations James Williams said that fire crews were first called to the home in the community of Sterling at about 7:40 p.m. local time.

Soon after firefighters arrived at the home, an explosion occurred, Williams said.

One firefighter was killed in the explosion, Williams disclosed. The victim’s name was not released. Nine other firefighters and two civilians were rushed to area hospitals.

“The nine firefighters have some serious injuries, as well as some less severe injuries,” Williams said.

Aerial footage from CBS affiliate WUSA-TV showed widespread debris from the explosion, with heavy flames burning and smoke billowing hundreds of feet into the air. 

“Total devastation, there’s a debris field well into the street and into neighboring homes,” Williams said, but he could not immediately confirm the extent of the damage to surrounding properties.   

The circumstances leading up to the explosion were unknown. Williams wouldn’t speculate on the cause, only saying that it is under investigation. However, the Sterling Volunteer Fire Company had reported on social media that it had responded to a gas leak at the same address a little before 7:40 p.m. 

Sterling is located about 25 miles northwest of Washington, D.C.


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