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Six-Alarm Fire In Alexandria Complicated By Water Main Break

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No injuries were reported in the warehouse fire, but it's been a complicated effort to fight it.
Lauren Landau
No injuries were reported in the warehouse fire, but it's been a complicated effort to fight it.

Firefighters battled a six-alarm blaze at a warehouse in the 800 block of South Pickett Street in Alexandria, Va., Monday afternoon.

As you approach the fire from Interstate 395, the tall black plume snaking into the sky was easily spotted. On South Van Dorn Street, everything was hazy with a light brown and gray smoke.

Chief Fire Marshal Robert Rodriguez with the Alexandria Fire Department says a water main break in the area slowed firefighters down as they were called to the scene. The fire hydrant crews would usually have accessed was out of service.

Rodriquez says they were later able to use other hydrants, and have managed to get an adequate water supply.

Local resident Jeffrey Mitchelle says he was on his way to breakfast when he saw smoke. He watched the situation unfold.

"About 12:20 p.m. I heard boom and then another boom about two minutes after that," Mitchelle says. "And it sounded like something blew up. And once it blew, that's when you really saw thick black smoke come out of the roof."

Fire fighters are still working to contain the situation, but as the afternoon wore on, Rodriguez reports things went more smoothly.

"We had safety officers on site with gas monitoring equipment, and they were continuously sampling the air and they would have advised us if we had any hazardous or toxic substances coming out," Rodriguez says.

Rodriguez says fire fighters will remain on site as they continue to deal with hot spots, and he says two fire fighters were sent to local hospitals with minor injuries. An investigation into the cause of the fire will begin once a safety team gives the all-clear.

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