An early morning explosion at a Sterling apartment has impacted 11 units and left 21 residents without a place to live, and investigators are still working to determine what could have happened.
The call came into 9-1-1 at 8:20 a.m. with reports of a fire alarm going off in the apartment building at 46101 Ingomar Terrace, at the southwest corner of Rt. 7 and Cascades Parkway. The scene was updated to an apartment fire once crews arrived on scene.
"The crews saw significant damage to the exterior wall in the rear of the building," Loduoun County Fire-Rescue spokesperson Laura Rinehart said. "They went inside and saw there had been a small fire."
The residential sprinkler system in the apartment building had put the fire out before firefighters arrived on scene. The building is a free standing one within the apartment complex. The complex is run by Kettler Management Company.
After revealing that the explosion occurred in a utility closet in the building, the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office has determined the incident to be accidental. Inspectors on the scene concluded a hot water heater shifted, causing a gas leak, which initiated the explosion.
Damages to the building and the affected units is estimated at $300,000.
There were no people injured in the explosion, but residents from 11 units have been displaced and the American Red Cross is on the scene to help them find lodging. The units have been deemed uninhabitable because of water damage and structural integrity issues, Rinehart said, not fire.
Structural shoring crews and engineers are on the scene to look at the structural damage and evaluate the building.
More information will be reported as it becomes available.