The Washington Post

Hybla Valley Good Samaritans save dozens in fire

An apartment fire erupted at 3 a.m. Sunday in the Hybla Valley area of Fairfax County, and a fire at that hour often means multiple tragedies. But at least two Good Samaritans who were just coming home at that time ran into the 12-unit complex on Belford Drive just off Route 1, and all 36 residents were awakened and escaped the blaze.

According to Lindsey Mastis at WUSA-9 News, 16-year-old Brandon Pressley was the hero. He said he was coming home from the movies, and after waking his mother, banged on other doors to awaken everyone else as smoke and flames started to billow. Here’s her report:

According to Mary Ann Barton in the Hybla Valley, Joel Ventura, 31, and his family were coming home from a Quinceanera in Manassas when they saw the smoke and started knocking and kicking on doors, along with another man he didn’t recognize. That might have been Pressley.

In any event, it looks like it was a pretty bad fire. It took two alarms worth of firefighters an hour to put it out, and the Fairfax fire department said it was caused by “an electrical event.” No damage estimate was released, and the fire department’s press release credited the building’s fire alarm (!!) with getting everyone out. Here is some raw video Ventura provided to, with no audio, showing the early Sunday flames:

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.


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