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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Annandale homeowner invites firefighters to burn down house

This house, at 4624 Willow Run Drive in Annandale, burned down Oct. 1, but no one was displaced or even upset about the fire.

Fairfax County firefighters from the 4th Battalion set the fire on purpose so they could put it out as a training exercise. The homeowner wanted to demolish the house, most likely to replace it with a larger one, and donated it to the Fire and Rescue Department.

The firefighters used wood pallets and hay to set the fire, following standards for live training burns approved by the National Fire Prevention Association, says Fire Department spokesperson Bill Delaney. 

Homeowners don’t donate homes to the Fire Department very often but when they do, they are used for realistic training excises to prepare firefighters for real emergencies.

Several training scenarios, or “evolutions,” are planned and conducted throughout the day. Each evolution involves such skills as searching for occupants, deployment of hose lines to extinguish the fire, and ventilation to remove toxic products – all conducted under intense heat and stress.

Neighbors were notified in advance and invited to watch the firefighters at work.


  1. This is a great service to the firefighters - many come in and have not had experience doing the job. They have the theory and some practice, but this gives much needed (and safe) on the job training. Thank you for donating your house.

  2. I caught one of these on video in April 2013. You can see it on YouTube here:

  3. The previous owner of this home was a longtime volunteer firefighter in the Annandale department. I believe he would have been proud to see his home donated in this way prior to demolition.

    1. I totally agree Kristin, Pop would have been proud, but I have to admit, it is hard seeing the house I grew up in go down in flames.

  4. Ouch! Hope they had a good home insurance policy.