Unattended Stove Causes Alexandria House Fire

Units responded to a townhouse fire, Saturday, August 22, 2015, at approximately 12:30 a.m., in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County. The single-family home is located at 8077 Buckman Court.

Firefighters encountered heavy smoke coming from the two-story townhouse upon arrival. Firefighters forced entry into the home and conducted an aggressive interior fire attack. Despite firefighting efforts, the home suffered major damage; however, the fire was contained to a single townhouse. A neighbor reported the fire when they noticed smoke coming from their kitchen sink. No one was home when the fire broke out. There were no working smoke alarms in the home. Two occupants have been displaced. Red Cross support was offered but declined by the occupants. There were no injuries.

The townhouse was a complete loss.

According to fire investigators, the fire was accidental. An unattended burner on a gas stovetop was left on and caused the fire.

Kitchen Safety Tips

  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
  • Wear short or tight fitting sleeves when cooking. Long loose sleeves are more likely to catch on fire or get caught on pot handles.
  • Keep things that can catch fire such as dish towels, curtains, or paper, at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Do not leave cooking food unattended. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • Turn pot handles inward, facing the wall to prevent burns caused by overturning or spills.
  • Pot holders or oven mitts prevent burns when handling hot dishes.
  • Regularly clean your cooking equipment so that there are no cooking materials, food items or grease accumulation.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Do not remove the lid until it is completely cool.
  •  If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing. Have the oven serviced before you use it again.