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Woman hurt in Ashburn house fire has died from her injuries, officials say

The fire in a Virginia home was started by an unattended candle, firefighters say.
Credit: Loudoun County firefighters
Nylsa Clark, 45, died after being critically injured in the fire Friday morning in Ashburn, firefighters said Tuesday.

WASHINGTON — A victim of a house fire in Virginia last week that started accidentally from a candle has died from her injuries, firefighters said. They had been called out to the two-story home for a report about a fire in the basement with someone trapped. 

Nylsa Clark, 45, who was critically injured after firefighters rescued her from the fire Friday morning in Ashburn, has died, Loudoun County public information officer Laura Rinehart said in a statement on Tuesday.

The fire happened in the Farmwell Hunt Community, the statement said. Fire and rescue units from Ashburn, Moorefield, Lansdowne, Sterling, Kincora, Leesburg and Fairfax County had responded to it around 4:45 a.m. on Friday. The single-family home was on Keane Court in Ashburn.

Firefighters arrived at the scene and found flames and smoke coming from the back of the single-family structure, with fire rapidly extending to the attic and roof, the statement said.

Fire and rescue crews went inside to extinguish the fire and search for people. They quickly found Clark and brought her outside to other first responders who then took her to the hospital with critical injuries, the statement said.

Five people in the home were evaluated and treated at area hospitals, along with one firefighter who suffered a minor injury.

The county Fire Marshal’s Office investigation determined that the blaze was accidental, and caused by an unattended candle inside the house. 

Smoke alarms had altered the occupants to the fire, allowing them to escape and call for help, firefighters said.

The fire marshal reminds residents to stay vigilant and only use candles in a safe manner. They should be placed on a sturdy, non-flammable surface, away from children, pets and anything that can burn. Candles require constant adult supervision, and you must ensure that they are completely extinguished before leaving the area, firefighters said.

In addition to candle safety, home escape planning is also a critical for keeping families safe, the statement said. Home escape plans should have two ways out of each room and a meeting place where you and your family will gather, firefighters said. 

Fire spreads rapidly. In some instances, a household may have as little as three minutes from the time the smoke alarm sounds to escape safely, firefighters said. When smoke alarms sound, occupants should immediately exit the structure and stay outside until firefighters arrive. Never go back in a burning building. There's not time to stop for toys, pets or other things, fire officials said.

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