Firefighter killed in 'horrific' Sterling house explosion identified; Four more people have been hospitalized, the fire department said

One firefighter died, nine others were injured and two civilians are hospitalized after a house explosion in Sterling, Virginia, Friday night.

A leaking propane tank was discovered at a home in Sterling, Virginia, shortly before it exploded Friday night, killing one firefighter and hospitalizing four first responders.

Loudoun County officials confirmed the explosion, which spooked residents and prompted calls to WTOP.

Trevor Brown, 45, has been identified as the deceased firefighter with Loudoun County Fire and Rescue. announced in a press release Saturday morning.

Brown has been with the Sterling Volunteer Fire Company since 2016.

“Please keep Firefighter Brown's family, friends and colleagues in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time, and we ask that the family's privacy be respected,” the fire department said in a news release.

Emergency medical services personnel from Loudoun and Fairfax counties identified 13 injured patients besides Brown — including 11 first responders and two civilians with “variable degrees of injuries.”

'total destruction'

According to Sterling's Volunteer Fire CompanyAbout 7:30 p.m., a call came in about a gas leak in the 300 block of Silver Ridge Drive.

Loudoun County Fire and Rescue reported Saturday that firefighters responded to the scene and found a 500-gallon underground propane tank leaking. Press release. The department said the explosion occurred “some time later.”

James Williams, Assistant Chief of the Loudoun County Fire Department, spoke to reporters about the incident during a press conference Friday night just before 11 p.m.

“Upon arrival, firefighters were inside and the house exploded,” Williams said.

As for the house: “Total destruction. There is a garbage dump in the street and in the neighboring houses,” he told reporters.

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is working with the Loudoun County Sheriff's Department to determine what caused the explosion.

“This is believed to be an isolated incident and poses no risk to the community,” the news release said.

Firefighters confirm house explosion in Loudoun County. (Courtesy 7News/SkyTrak7)

Officials did not identify the firefighter who died in the fire during a press conference, but said the incident deeply affected the wider community, including colleagues in nearby jurisdictions.

“It's a huge physical and emotional toll on everyone associated with the fire department. Obviously, the people who are trapped, the rescue workers trying to get them out, the incident commander,” Williams said.

The fire continued to smolder Friday evening as the department's fire investigation encountered overnight snow, officials said.

“It's going to be an extended scenario complicated by weather,” Williams said at the end of the conference.

Community members are feeling the effects of the explosion

Footage from WTOP news partners at 7News and Chopper7 showed firefighters and first responders searching the wreckage of a home on Silver Ridge Drive in Sterling.

At around 9pm, social media users were scrambling to find out what had happened, with one person in Stirling saying: “A huge boom just shook the whole house. They ran upstairs with flashlights and the neighbors were doing the same. Apparently, a house exploded in a nearby street.

John Padgett, a neighbor who lives down the road from the blast, told reporters he smelled gas while walking his dog Friday evening. The explosion shook the whole house.

“It was a huge explosion,” Padgett said, “it looked like an inferno,” and the insulation fell like ash. “It was terrifying. It was like being out of a war zone.

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At 8:25 p.m., another call came in that the building was on fire, and an ambulance responded at the same time.

“A large explosion was heard in the Cascades/Sterling area at 8:25 p.m.,” a listener wrote to WTOP. “It shook everybody's houses so much that they all shook, and we all thought a tree had hit our individual houses.”

WTOP listeners as far away as Montgomery County, Maryland, reported a loud boom at the same time a Loudoun County home caught fire.

“Shook houses 15 miles from Germantown / Gaithersburg / Rockville,” writes another listener.

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