Va. house fire, explosion sound rattles neighbors; homeowner allegedly leaves before blaze

Townhouse fire rattles neighborhood with sound of explosion in Lorton, Va. Friday, May 12, 2017 (ABC7 photo)

The homeowner of a townhouse that caught fire early Friday morning in Lorton, Virginia allegedly left the home prior to the start of the blaze, according to a neighbor that spoke with ABC7 News' John Gonzalez.

A spokesperson with Fairfax County Fire tells ABC7 News it's now deemed a "suspicious fire," and they're actively searching for the homeowner who is currently missing and was not in the home at the time of the fire.

Gonzalez says the neighbor saw the homeowner leaving the residence with "luggage" over an hour before the incident happened.

Neighbors also told Gonzalez they heard an explosion and felt a loud shake that felt like a "tremor." "There was just a lot of nose, explosion....was a blaze," said Jake Andreou, a resident.

Gonzalez also learned from neighbors that the home was under foreclosure and the homeowner was set to be evicted this weekend, and ABC7 News is working to confirm those details. There were no injuries in the fire, and it's currently under investigation.

The fire started in the back of the home and quickly spread through the residence. Flames were so large and smoke was so heavy that firefighters were unable to enter the home.

Power and gas was turned off at some of the homes in the neighborhood, and several residents will be displaced due to damage from the fire to adjacent homes.

Fire investigators are in the neighborhood speaking to residents about the incident.

This story has been updated.

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