FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (DC News Now) –Fairfax County and Fire Rescue crews responded to the scene of a building fire in the 7200 block of Columbia Pike. Four Annandale businesses, two restaurants, a shipping company, and a hair salon, sustained what fire officials called catastrophic damage.
Fire officials said a passerby saw smoke coming from the building at around 7 a.m. and then alerted firefighters at the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department, which is just down the street. When first responders arrived, they saw heavy smoke showing from the roof line.
As of 9:00 a.m., first responders were still working to extinguish the fire. The bulk of the fire is under control, but a small gas-fed fire is still burning according to a tweet from Fairfax County and Fire Rescue. Asst. Fire Chief of Operations for Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Dan Shaw explained that three of the gas mains had been turned off before Washington Gas was called to excavate and cap the fourth line.
They also reported that the operation is in defensive mode due to the instability of the building. There are no reported injuries at this time. Fire officials confirmed the fire was completely out at around 12:15 in the afternoon. Firefighting efforts also shut the Columbia Pike down in both directions between Backlick Road and John Marr drive.
Asst. Chief Shaw explained that the building that housed the four businesses would likely be a total loss.
“There’s a lot of HVAC, the air conditioning units on the roof,” Asst. Chief Shaw said. “I’d say that is an extremely heavy load on the roof for as long as that was burning, that has now collapsed into the structure.”
Over 100 firefighters from across Fairfax County responded to the call which Ahmed Attia saw as he was dropping his daughter off for a Sunday morning program. He says his daughter first saw the smoke billowing out of the business.
“The smoke was unbelievable and I feel so bad for sure because I used to own businesses all my life and I still have some businesses too,” Attia explained. “So really, really sad news for the owner, the landlord that the whole entire area here.”
The Office of the Fire Marshal for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue will be leading the investigation.