Chimney Causes Great Falls House Fire

Units responded to a house fire Sunday, December 6, 2015, in the Great Falls area of Fairfax County. The single-family home is located at 9716 Arnon Chapel Road.

Units encountered fire coming from a garage attached to the home by a breezeway upon arrival. Firefighters conducted an aggressive fire attack and contained the fire to the garage area. Crews planned to use a tanker task force as a continuous water supply as the area lacked fire hydrants; however, the on-hand water was sufficient to extinguish the fire. The lone occupant escaped unharmed. Red Cross is assisting the displaced occupant. There were no injuries.

Damage is estimated $140,000.

According to fire investigators, the fire was accidental. A zero clearance chimney in an art studio on the second floor of the two-story garage 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.