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Fire alarms didn’t go off during Saturday’s high-rise apartment fire in the West End

The Alexandria Fire Department confirmed that fire alarms in a high-rise West End apartment building didn’t go off during a two-alarm blaze on Saturday and residents say they were notified to evacuate by the property manager via text message.

Residents were notified of a fire on the fourth floor of the Pavilion On The Park building at 5340 Holmes Run Parkway at around 10 a.m., which was the same time that the Alexandria Fire Department was dispatched to the scene.

“The fire alarm system did not function at the time of the incident,” AFD confirmed to ALXnow. “Upon further investigation, fire marshals determined that the system had been shut off by the main power switch. The switch was turned back on and the alarm system reset and restored to service. Fire marshals instructed management to have the alarm system checked to ensure there are no faults or malfunctions.”

Property manager Rosewood Management could not be reached for comment.

The fire started at around 10 a.m. in a closet in unit 414, an empty three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment that sold last month. Flames and smoke quickly spread to the fifth and sixth floors. Residents tried to activate a number of fire alarm stations in the building, but none of them worked, according to multiple residents.

“It’s incredible,” said one resident. “The fire alarm didn’t go off and we got a text from the building telling us to evacuate.”

The fire was deemed accidental in nature, with “probable cause determined to be spontaneous ignition from discarded rags and painting materials,” according to AFD.

One person was injured due to a “physical hazard” at the scene and was treated at the hospital for a non-life threatening injury, according to AFD. It is not clear the exact number of affected residents being relocated, and Rosewood Management is not assisting with their relocation, according to AFD.

“This was a condominium, so residents are making their own relocation arrangements as needed,” AFD said.

After the blaze, unit 414 was condemned, and apartments 114, 214, and 314 (directly below unit 414) were deemed uninhabitable due to water damage. Rosewood later texted residents at around 7 p.m. that it would be testing the fire alarm and there was no need to evacuate.

The Fairfax County Fire Department assisted AFD in extinguishing the blaze.