Alexandria warehouse fire was 'incendiary,' according to fire chief

(Photo: Louis Larrea)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WJLA) – The six-alarm, September 2 fire in Alexandria sent plumes of smoke billowing into the sky that could be seen across the D.C. Metro area. And on Tuesday, Alexandria's fire chief told ABC 7 that someone likely started this fire.

"Can't identify the person of interest," said Alexandria Fire Chief Adam Thiel. "This is an active criminal investigation still. What we're doing tonight is basically explaining that we have identified a cause."

Since the massive blaze, the department has been working with a specialized team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"We ruled out any of the accidental causes...we ruled out electrical causes," Thiel said. "It was not an accidental fire."

According to the fire department, people have been interviewed and the scene has been thoroughly examined -- as a result, it now appears that this fire was no accident. But the fire chief would not refer to it as ‘arson,’ instead using the term ‘incendiary,’ which means someone started the fire.

Whether it was on purpose or not, he also would not say.

Rodriguez added that the sole person of interest has been interviewed but is not currently in custody, and that he is not concerned the person of interest would be a threat and spark more fires.

The damages in the massive fire are said to add up to approximately $6 million for the construction and recycling company.

It took firefighters four hours to contain the blaze at the three-story building, and a nearby water main break didn't help firefighters.

"This would have been a major fire regardless of the water main break because of the nature of the fuel involved, the nature of the building," explained Thiel."

Four firefighters were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, but no one else was hurt.

"The fact that there are people out there committing crimes -- that is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed," said Alexandria resident Carla Cox.

"It's hard to imagine why somebody would be angry enough to do that," added D.C. resident Jeff Beattie.