On Monday night about 8:45, deputies and firefighters responded to a home on Cannonball Gate Road in Warrenton after a report of a residential structure fire but found a more complicated scenario that included an alleged assault.
Upon arrival at the fire scene, the landowner directed deputies to a woman sitting in a chair in the woods near the residence, according to Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. James Hartman.
He reported that the woman said she lives at the residence with Michael Lansdowne, 51. She said that she and Lansdowne were involved in a physical altercation and he left.
The woman said she then noticed the residence was on fire but could not call 911 because she could not find her cellphone.
During the investigation, Lansdowne returned to the residence and was placed under arrest. He was taken before a magistrate and charged with strangulation; he was held with no bond.
Also, as a result of the investigation, a person on the scene was found to be wanted out of Culpeper County for destruction of property. Helen Banks, 49, of Culpeper and Warrenton, was taken into custody.
Warrenton Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company Chief Jason Koglin reported that when his team arrived at the fire, they found that the single-story single-family home was 75 percent involved.
Koglin said that firefighters initially tried to enter the home for “fire attack and search. but found significant structural integrity issues.”
No injuries were reported, said Koglin.
Firefighting units from Marshall, New Baltimore, the Warrenton Training Center, The Plains, Orlean and Catlett assisted the Warrenton company.
The cause and origin of the blaze is being handled as an ongoing investigation by the Fauquier County Fire Marshal, Capt. Russell Baker. He urged anyone with information about the fire to call his office at 540-422-8823.