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Large fire on Wheeler Avenue this month caused $5 million in damages

Fire on Wheeler Avenue (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Alexandria Fire Department (AFD) said a massive fire earlier this month on Wheeler Lane caused an estimated $5 million in damages.

In a release, AFD said the fire was “accidental and electrical in nature”. The fire caused $1.5 million in structural damage with an estimated $3.5 million in damage to the contents of the businesses in those buildings.

The fire, which started around 9 p.m. on Jan. 2, was a three-alarm fire that wound up bringing in over 100 firefighters from both Alexandria and surrounding jurisdictions. One firefighter sustained minor injuries.

Jeffrey’s Catering, one of the providers to Alexandria’s Meals on Wheels program, was one of the businesses affected. Despite concerns that the fire might impact Meals on Wheels’ ability to provide food for local seniors, the release said the owners of Jeffrey’s Catering were able to continue services using an alternative location.

The building has since been condemned due to fire and structural damage.

The release is below:

The Alexandria Fire Department fire marshals’ initial investigation of the fire at 4407 Wheeler Ave. revealed that the fire was accidental and electrical in nature, causing approximately $1.5 million in structural damage and an additional estimated $3.5 million in damage to the contents of all impacted businesses located in the commercial strip warehouse. The incident, initially reported as a fire alarm around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday, January 2, was quickly upgraded to a 3-alarm fire, bringing more than 100 firefighters from AFD and surrounding jurisdictions to support the fire attack.

With assistance from Arlington County and Fairfax County fire departments, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the George Mason University and Fairfax City Fire Department Drone Team, the Fire Marshal’s Office conducted an origin and cause investigation over the course of three days. While the investigation took place, firefighting activities continued to address hot spots and to extinguish fire debris. Investigators identified a room in the warehouse as the point of origin, which is where they also found several electrical components. The building’s fire alarm system and smoke alarms activated at the time of the incident.

Among the businesses affected by the fire is Jeffery’s Catering – a key provider for the Meals on Wheels program. The owners have made the necessary arrangements to continue services in an alternative location.

No civilians were injured as a result of the fire. One firefighter sustained a minor injury, was treated, and released the same day as the incident. The building was condemned due to fire and structural damage. The property value saved is an estimated $696,720.

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