ANNA — A major tragedy was averted by the quick actions of two Anna police officers recently, as a structure fire in a neighborhood home caused by a faulty automatic dishwasher threatened the lives of the occupants.
After responding to a reported fire in progress in the 2700 block of Thousand Oaks in the Tara Farms subdivision in north Anna, Police Officer Brandon Blair and Sgt. Steve Williams arrived before the fire units, securing the area for the impending arrival of firefighting personnel.
“Sgt. Williams and I were dispatched to a structure fire at 2617 Thousand Oaks. Prior to our arrival, dispatch indicated the house was on fire and all occupants were out of the house,” Blair said.
While creating a perimeter and ensuring the safety of neighborhood residents, Officer Blair made contact with an individual believed to be a resident of the home standing in the front yard. The individual advised the officer that there were individuals still inside the structure, which was quickly filling with thick black smoke.
“Upon arrival, I observed black smoke billowing from the residence,” Blair said. “I spoke with the homeowner who stated her kitchen was on fire. At this time, Sgt. Williams and I entered the residence with a fire extinguisher.”
Looking through a window, Officer Blair saw two small children inside. The officer immediately entered the home and found the two children and an adult female who appeared dazed and frightened.
“Upon entering the house, I could see two small children at the back of the residence,” Blair continued. “As we entered the kitchen, we observed the dishwasher was engulfed with flames. Williams and I then alternated extinguishing the fire due to the thick smoke. I walked to the back of the residence through the smoke to find two children at the back door. I helped escort the children to the backyard away from the house.”
Officer Blair escorted the three out of the structure and away from the source of the smoke, ensuring that the three were safe and secure. The three were treated at the scene by arriving emergency medical personnel and released without injury.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Williams assessed the situation and determined that the smoke was emanating from the kitchen area, confined to what appeared to be an electrical fire inside the dishwasher. He entered the structure with an extinguisher and brought the fire under control until fire personnel arrived.
What seemed like an eternity was actually only a short amount of time. “A few seconds later, the Anna Fire Department arrived on scene and began deploying fans to help divert the smoke out of the house,” Blair said. “During this time, firefighters removed the dishwasher from the home and placed it in the front yard.”
“This is proof that even firefighters need guardian angels,” Anna Interim Police Chief Jeff Caponera said.
The efforts of Officer Blair and Sgt. Williams ensured that the occupants of the home were safe, and damage to the structure minimized. Both were recognized during the Anna City Council meeting of April 10, with each receiving a commemorative Chief’s Coin and commendations from the Mayor and Council. Sgt. Williams was unable to attend the meeting due to a family commitment.
Blair said teamwork and fast action kept a small incident into becoming potentially fatal. “A possible tragedy was diverted because the team work performed during this incident. This consisted of individual commitment to a group effort, and because of this the family was able to stay in their home.”
Blair was at the city council meeting to be presented the Chief’s coin from Caponera, and said it was an honor. “I am incredibly honored to have received this recognition from Chief Caponera, who has served the city of Anna for nearly a decade. I am grateful to serve this community alongside fellow officers that dedicate themselves to this community no matter the cost,” Blair said.