The Washington Post

Person of interest identified in Alexandria fire

Firefighters battle the huge blaze in a warehouse on S. Pickett Street on Sept. 2 in Alexandria. (Bill O'Leary/Washington Post)

The fire that ripped through a 2-story warehouse in Alexandria on Sept. 2 was not accidental, fire marshals have concluded, and a person of interest has been identified in the case.

That person has been interviewed but is not in custody, Alexandria Fire Chief Adam Thiel said at a press conference Tuesday evening. He said authorities are “not concerned” that the person will cause any more harm to the community. He declined to elaborate.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives helped the Alexandria Fire Department determine that the fire was incendiary in nature. Officials will not label the fire “arson” because the word “has a specific legal definition,” Thiel said.

“How this case will be prosecuted and what will happen next is up to the Commonwealth’s Attorney,” he said.

More than 200 firefighters fought the blaze, which began shortly before noon last Monday inside a low-slung building at 801 S. Pickett St.

No one was inside the building when the fire started, Chief Fire Marshal Robert Rodriguez said at the time. The roof collapsed as firefighters dealt with the blaze, he said, but they were able to evacuate safely. But four firefighters were hurt, including three from Alexandria. Two remain off duty with minor injuries.

The Alexandria Fire Department estimates the cost of the damage at $6 million.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
In defense of dads
Play Videos
How to make head cheese
Perks of private flying
The rise and fall of baseball cards
Play Videos
Husband finds love, loss in baseball
New hurdles for a Maryland tradition
How to survive a shark attack
Play Videos
Portland's most important meal of the day
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to save and spend money at college

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.