Neighbor gets fire under control — with garden hose

Posted: July 19, 2013

The Winchester Star

Lt. Mark Showers (left), assistant fire marshal, and Deputy Chief William Bowmaster, both with Frederick County Fire and Rescue, look over a home on Fortress Drive where a fire burned a section of the front of the house. A fast-acting neighbor, ironically a firefighter, extinguished the blaze with a garden hose. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — Firefighter David Nixon was enjoying his first day of vacation Thursday when he was called on to put out a fire — this time with a garden hose.

A little before 3 p.m., firefighters responded to a call that the front of a house just north of the city on the 500 block of Fortress Drive off North Frederick Pike was on fire.

Nixon, who lives across from the residence and is a firefighter at Dulles International Airport, smelled smoke and heard a window crack.

“The fire was shooting up to the second story,” he said.

So Nixon, 54, raced over to the house, grabbed the garden hose in the yard and put out the fire in a matter of minutes.

“I was actually kinda grateful he came over,” said Stephen Brown, 22, who lives in the house and was the only resident inside at the time.

The siding on the right side of the house was melted and in some places hung in sheets, while the first-story window was charred black.

The damage from the fire, which did not reach inside the residence, is estimated at $10,000.

Brown said the mulch under the window caught on fire and spread to the siding. He saw the blaze while inside and called 911.

“It’s pretty impressive that he put that out with a garden hose,” said Frederick County Deputy Chief William Bowmaster, while observing the scene.

Bowmaster said the cause of the fire was under investigation.

Responding to the scene were firefighters from Roundhill, Millwood Station, Rouss, South End, Gainesboro, Frederick County Battalion 10, Frederick County Fire Marshal’s Office and Winchester Battalion six.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at