Empty house destroyed

Photo courtesy of RCSOCourtesy RCSO

A long-empty small frame house on Piedmont Avenue, about a half-mile from Washington’s Main Street, burned to the ground Sunday night in a fire authorities first thought might have been deliberately set but later judged to be accidental. This photo was taken shortly after 9:30 p.m., as Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office deputies and the first of six volunteer crews arrived. Three unidentified young men who police said had been inside the house earlier, reportedly smoking cigarettes and drinking beer, were questioned by RCSO investigators, who also searched the still-smoldering debris well into Monday. Sheriff Connie C. Smith said Tuesday the investigation was continuing but no evidence of arson or intent had surfaced. Firefighters from companies in Washington, Sperryville, Amissville, Flint Hill and Castleton responded, as did a Sperryville Rescue crew. Tankers had to shuttle water from a hydrant a quarter-mile east, Sperryville fire chief Richie Burke said; the hydrant closest to the fire is apparently the only one on the town of Washington’s water system still connected to the town’s old (and long-ago disconnected) water-main network.

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