Manassas Journal Messenger | Man dies in house fire

A 76-year-old man died in a house fire at 12:23 a.m. Thursday just southwest of Haymarket, said Capt. Tim Taylor, Prince William Fire and Rescue.

Two other occupants of the house at 7318 Old Carolina Drive escaped the fire, Taylor said.

The two survivors met firefighters as they pulled up to the front of the house to tell them that Henry W. Blackwell was still inside, Taylor said.

Firefighters from Evergreen, Lake Jackson, Stonewall Jackson and Gainesville volunteer fire departments were unable to save Blackwell, Taylor said.

Cause of death has yet to be determined, Taylor said.

“The Fire Marshal’s office is looking at the free-standing wood stove as an area of interest to them,” Taylor said.

Jose Campos, Blackwell’s next door neighbor, said firefighting equipment was lined up the length of Old Carolina Road.

“I never saw anything like it,” Campos said.

Taylor said firefighting in that part of the county necessitates a massive response. There are no fire hydrants in that area.

“Because that’s a rural area, it gets a tanker task force and that’s why they saw so much equipment,” Taylor said.

A tanker task force consists of two tanker trucks and a “port-a-tank” they can use to “dump” on the fire, Taylor said.

Jackson’s death is the first fire fatality in Prince William County in 23 months, Taylor said.

With the winter ahead, Taylor advised Prince William residents to have their furnaces checked by professionals.

People should also make sure to properly dispose of fireplace ashes and embers.

“Make sure you’re putting them in a safe place where they’re not next to something combustible.” Taylor said

Taylor also warned people to check and see if their smoke detectors are working and to make sure they have an escape route planned.

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