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Fairfax County fire officials say that where there is smoke, there is not always necessarily fire, but that was small consolation for about 300 residents of the Parliaments Apartments in Annandale who were ushered out into sub-freezing weather Thursday morning.

According to fire officials, an electrical anomaly at the 750-unit apartment complex built in 1971 required firefighters to shut off power to nearly 300 apartment units for several hours early Thursday.

“There was a breaker box or electrical panel that was causing large amounts of smoke,” said Fairfax County Fire and Rescue spokesman Dan Schmidt, who said about 65 firefighters responded to the scene. “We were able to go in and find the source of the problem after shutting the power down.”

Schmidt said power was eventually restored to all but 16 apartment units that were the most directly affected by the electrical anomaly. The Red Cross has offered its services and those residents have been offered temporary shelter, Schmidt said.

“There were anomalies in two internal breakers in one building that affected those units,” said Dominion Virginia Power spokesman Chuck Penn. “We have disconnected our feed to those apartments and will turn it back on after those internal breakers are fixed by the building management.”

A spokesperson for Southern Management Corp., owners of the apartment complex, said Thursday that the company was not sure exactly what happened, but that those 16 units would not be without power for long.

“We have contracted repairs, and our contractor’s expectation was that that those residents would be back in their aprtments by Thursday evening,” said spokesperson Pamela Martin.

Southern Management Corp. is currently awaiting approval from Fairfax County to develop a $65 million high-rise apartment complex up the street from the Parliaments Apartments.

gmacdonald@fairfaxtimes.com