Ahmed Amini, a software developer working from home, escaped a fire at his house Wednesday, thanks to a VDOT contractor who saw smoke billowing from the home.
The emergency call came in at 3:06 p.m. about the home on fire in the 8700 block of Etta Drive in West Springfield. Thirty-two firefighters responded from Crosspoint Station 41 and West Springfield Station 27. When they arrived, the upper level of the two-story home was in flames. The roof collapsed shortly thereafter.
"It looks like the fire originated somewhere in the attic," said Keith Johnson, deputy chief of special operations for Fairfax County Fire & Rescue.
One firefighter was injured with lacerations to his hand.
The firefighters quickly brought the fire under control, but displaced three residents, although Amini was the only one there at the time.
Luckily Amini was not injured, thanks to quick thinking by Corey Brown, a VDOT inspector repaving nearby.
"We were taking a little break and we looked over and started to see smoke come out from the house," he told Patch. "My immediate reaction was to knock on the door. And it took a little while to get an answer and I thought I was going to have to knock the door in."
Brown looked in a window and saw a pile of shoes inside near the door. "So I just kept banging really hard for a minute or two, until finally I saw footsteps coming down the stairs and the gentleman answered the door," he said.
"I was on the phone working, I was working on my computer," said Amini, "when one of the workers down the street knocked on the door. I came downstairs to answer it. There was no smoke or anything in the house."
Brown said he asked Amini: "'Sir, do you realize your house is on fire?' And he looked at me and said: 'No.' And I said, 'Sir, please come outside with me.'"
From the Amini's reaction, Brown said he thought it was likely he was unaware his house was on fire, especially since the fire appeared to have started in the attic.
The two walked outside and saw smoke coming out from the left side of the house and fire on the right side.
"As soon as we came out, the fire started to blaze and five minutes later, when firefighters arrived, the roof caved in," Brown said.
This is the first time Brown has saved someone's life. "I used to be a lifeguard," he said.
Amini said it was his lucky day. "I don't think anybody else would have told me that there was a fire during that time of day," he said.