Chimney Ember Causes Fairfax Center House Fire

Units responded to a house fire Thursday, April 23, 2015, at approximately 10 p.m., in the Fairfax Center area of Fairfax County. The single-family home is located at 4818 Marymead Drive.

Firefighters encountered heavy smoke and fire coming from the left side of the two-story home upon arrival. Firefighters conducted an aggressive fire attack and quickly brought the fire under control. The exterior fire extended through the soffit and a portion of the roof. Several occupants were home when the fire broke out and escaped unharmed. Three occupants have been displaced. Red Cross support was offered but declined by the occupants. There were no injuries.

Damage is estimated at $70,000.

According to fire investigators, the fire was accidental. A chimney ember from the fireplace caused the fire.

 Fireplace Safety Tips

  • Ensure that your chimney is cleaned and inspected by a licensed professional once a year.
  • A spark arrestor across the top of a chimney will prevent sparks from igniting your roof.
  • Use the proper fuel (seasoned hardwood, pellets, and gas/propane) for your type of system.
  • Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Fireplaces should have a sturdy screen across the front to prevent embers from flying or logs from rolling out.
  • When clearing ashes from the fireplace, be sure to put them into a metal container with a lid—never into a cardboard box or paper bag.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Many “non-masonry” fireplace/chimney units have limitations on the amount of heat they can safely withstand.