Sixty residents were displaced by a pair of separate residential fires in eastern Loudoun County this week — one at a single-family Aldie home on Tuesday and the other at a Sterling apartment building on Friday, according to Loudoun County Fire and Rescue public information officer Laura Rinehart.
No serious injuries resulted from the first incident, while the second resulted in several injuries due to smoke inhalation, according to Loudoun County Fire and Rescue.
Fire and rescue units from multiple jurisdictions were dispatched to the 41000 block of Feldspar Pl. in Aldie around 6 p.m. on Tuesday for the first fire.
The 911 caller had reported a fire at the rear of a neighboring residence.
When first responders arrived on scene a "significant amount of fire and smoke" had enveloped the second floor and roof, officials said.
After a ladder truck's master stream extinguished most of the flames, firefighters entered the home and ensured the fire had been completely extinguished.
The four residents safely self-evacuated before firefighters arrived but are now displaced.
More than $1.36 million in damages were reported, including $20,000 in damages to two neighboring homes.
According to Loudoun County Chief Fire Marshal Linda Hale, the fire occurred when newly placed mulch spontaneously combusted.
"Spontaneous combustion can happen when a decomposing, organic material such as mulch generates enough heat to ignite without an outside source," she said in a prepared statement.
The second fire occurred around 10:15 a.m. on Friday, when fire and rescue units were dispatched to an 1220 Chase Heritage Cir. in Sterling.
Active fire and smoke had been spotted on the third floor of a Chase Heritage Apartment Homes building.
Residents were already evacuating when responders arrived, as heavy fire had begun to spread quickly from the third floor to the roof.
Firefighters quelled the flames with both an interior and exterior attack.
Per Fire and Rescue officials, 14 apartments were damaged in the incident, and four people — one civilian and four Loudoun County Sheriff's Office deputies — were treated at local hospitals for smoke inhalation.
Officials said 56 occupants were displaced from 20 units in the building, and the fire resulted in $2 million in structural damages and $500,000 in material damages.