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Updated: Fire Damages JAUNT Buses, Condos in Charlottesville

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JANUT buses badly damaged by an early-morning fire in Charlottesville JANUT buses badly damaged by an early-morning fire in Charlottesville
JANUT buses badly damaged by an early-morning fire in Charlottesville JANUT buses badly damaged by an early-morning fire in Charlottesville
Crews on the scene of a fire at Linden Town Lofts in Charlottesville Crews on the scene of a fire at Linden Town Lofts in Charlottesville
Crews working to contain a fire at a JAUNT bus storage lot in Charlottesville Crews working to contain a fire at a JAUNT bus storage lot in Charlottesville
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Investigators are trying to determine what started a destructive fire in Charlottesville early Thursday morning.

Dozens of firefighters responded to a the area of Linden Avenue around 2:40 a.m. Thursday, July 13.

Flames moved from a JAUNT parking lot to a wooden fence, and then onto a neighboring home at Linden Town Lofts.

"I looked outside and could see that whole fence was on fire and was starting to spread to the siding on the outside," said Aaron Anderson.

Anderson said he ran through the complex to wake up other sleeping residents.

"I called 911 right then while I, right after I screamed for my wife to wake up and get out of bed," he said.

An aerial crew had to fight the fire from above, and it took some time to get the scene under control.

Authorities say a vacant townhome has severe fire damage, a second unit had extensive water damage, and very little damage to four other homes.

It appears everyone got out safe, and there have been no reports of injuries.

The fire caused damage to four JAUNT buses.

"There's a sense of loss. The drivers have relationships, of course first and foremost, with their passengers many times on a first name basis. To a certain degree, they're used to drive a certain bus, and it's like being caught without a friend," said Brian Cohen with JAUNT.

JAUNT officials want to stress to passengers that there will be no delays in rides because the company has 13 additional buses for use.

"We are able to make substitutions from our fleet for those buses so there are not going to be any delays in service throughout urban Albemarle County, Charlottesville, or any of our other service areas," Cohen said.

The company says each bus costs about $75,000.

Release from Charlottesville Fire Department:

Charlottesville Fire Department was dispatched to a structure fire this morning at 2:41 a.m.

The First Engine Company arrived on scene at 2:47 a.m. with multiple JAUNT Buses on fire. The fire had extended through a wooden fence, mulch and into the exterior of a six unit row house at 1013 Linden Avenue.

The end apartment unit closes to the fire had severe fire damage. The second unit had extensive water damage with the remaining four apartments with very little damage.

CFD responded with four engine companies, two aerial companies, one Charlottesville Rescue Medic unit, Heavy Squad unit and one Command unit. 2nd Alarm was initiated and 3 Albemarle County Engine Companies responded and one Seminole Fire Command Unit.

36+ Fire/Rescue personnel were on scene with no civilian or fire/rescue injuries reported.

The fire is currently under investigation by the Charlottesville Fire Marshalls Office.

Thank you to city PD who assisted in evacuating the row houses and all occupants got out safely.

Release from JAUNT:

An early morning fire totaled four buses in JAUNT’s parking lot Thursday.

Details are still developing. Based on existing information, the fire started at approximately 2:30 a.m. Fire officials are still investigating the cause of the fire. There were no serious injuries.

JAUNT anticipates no delays to service, since other buses in its fleet will substitute for the damaged vehicles.

JAUNT, Inc. is this area’s regional public transportation system established in 1975 to provide commuter, casual rider and paratransit service throughout central Virginia.