Grill Causes Reston Townhouse Fire

Units responded to a townhouse fire Sunday, August 30, 2015, at approximately 1:40 a.m. in the Reston area of Fairfax County. The single-family home is located at 11526 Hemingway Drive.

Firefighters encountered smoke and fire coming from all levels of a middle unit, three-story townhouse upon arrival. Firefighters conducted an aggressive exterior and interior fire attack and brought the fire under control in approximately 20 minutes. Occupants from several townhouses all escaped unharmed. Smoke alarms did not activate as the fire started on the exterior. There was minor damage to adjacent townhomes. Two occupants have been displaced and are receiving Red Cross support. There were no injuries.

Damage is estimated at $232,000.

According to fire investigators, the fire was accidental. A charcoal grill on the deck too close to combustibles caused the fire.

Grill Safety Tips 

  • Grills should be placed at least 15 feet from any home, building, or combustibles to ensure adequate air circulation.
  • Charcoal must be kept dry. Spare propane bottles should be stored outside away from the home. A backyard shed is a good place.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill. Grills continue to give off heat long after cooking has stopped.
  • Never place hot ashes in paper or plastic bags or containers. Only use metal containers for hot ashes.
  • Use Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved electrical starters in place of lighter fluid.
  • Never use a grill on apartment or condominium balconies. This practice is one of the biggest dangers with grills. It is unsafe and against the law.