Dogs Rescued from a Veteran’s House Set Ablaze in Purcellville

The four dogs rescued Monday from a Purcellville house fire by Loudoun County firefighters remain in guarded condition, according to the fire-rescue department.

The home was a HeroHome, built by the Loudoun nonprofit that builds houses for military veterans. Vainuupo “AV” Avegalio, an army veteran, as well as a poet and visual artist, owns the house and two of the dogs. The other two dogs belonged to a friend.

At approximately 2:40 p.m. Dec. 6, the county dispatchers received a 911 call reporting smoke coming from a home on Pipers Brook Drive in the Brown’s Farm neighborhood. The caller indicated that nobody was home, but several dogs were inside. Fire and Rescue units from Purcellville, Hamilton, Round Hill, Philomont, Leesburg were dispatched to the scene.

Arriving firefighters found a one-story, single-family home with smoke showing from the side and roofline. Crews entered the structure and found an active kitchen fire, which was quickly extinguished. A search of the residence confirmed that no occupants were inside, however, four dogs were rescued from the home. The canines—suffering from smoke inhalation, two with severe cases—were given oxygen and other medical care by personnel on scene before being transferred to the Loudoun County Animal Services staff, who transported the dogs to receive emergency veterinary services.

No additional injuries were reported. Avegalio and his dogs are displaced as a result of the fire, which caused an estimated $158,400 in damages. 

The home was equipped with working smoke alarms, which were sounding when fire and rescue units arrived. The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office investigation determined the fire to be accidental, caused by an appliance malfunction on a kitchen countertop. 

Neighbors organized a GoFundMe to assist Avegalio while he is displaced. According to the organizer, the funds will help “alleviate some of the financial burdens of the situation, such as emergency vet bills for the four dogs who were inside the home, temporary housing costs, and other misc. concerns.”

Rescue crews provide aid to four dogs rescued from a Pipers Brook Drive house fire Dec. 6. [LCFR photo]
Vainuupo Avegalio’s home during a tour by then-gubernatorial candidate Terry McAulife.

2 thoughts on “Dogs Rescued from a Veteran’s House Set Ablaze in Purcellville

  • 2021-12-07 at 2:23 pm

    I’m hoping for a full recovery for the pooches. What a dreadful ordeal to go through. And kudos to the person who placed the 911 call. That may have saved the canines’ lives. Please, everyone. Make sure everything is safe when you leave your house unattended. Especially if pets are inside. Happy Holidays Loudoun!

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