On Sunday, November 20, at approximately 5:29 a.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the Arlington County Fire Department responded for a reported house fire in the 6300 block of Villa Lane in the Seven Corners area of Fairfax County.
A unit from Fire Station 28, Seven Corners, arrived on scene of a two-story, single family home and observed fire showing from the front and side of the house. Crews initiated an aggressive attack on the fire, initially from the outside and then worked their way inside the home.
Four occupants were home at the time of the fire. One occupant woke to the odor of smoke in the home and alerted the remaining occupants of the fire. All occupants were safely outside upon arrival of the fire department. Three of the five dogs that were home were also able to escape. The remaining two dogs perished in the fire.
There were multiple battery-operated smoke alarms present in the home that did not work. None of the smoke alarms had batteries installed.
Two occupants of the home were transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Red Cross is assisting the displaced occupants. There were approximately 40 firefighters on scene. No firefighter injuries were reported.
The fire investigation revealed the fire originated in the home’s library. The cause of the fire is accidental as a result of smoking materials igniting nearby combustibles. Damages are estimated at $173,750.00.
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department would like to remind all residents who smoke to remember the following safety tips regarding the proper disposal of smoking materials:
- Completely douse butts and ashes with water before throwing them away, as they can smolder and cause a fire.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Provide large, deep ashtrays with a center support for smokers. Check furniture for any dropped ashes before going to bed. Empty ashes into a fireproof container with water and sand.
- Keep smoking materials away from anything that can burn (i.e., mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, draperies, etc.).
- Never smoke in a room where medically required oxygen is being used.
- If you smoke, choose fire-safe cigarettes. They are less likely to cause fires.
- Be alert to prevent a deadly cigarette fire. If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs you will not be alert.
- Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children’s sight and reach.
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department would also like to remind all residents that working smoke alarms can save lives! Please take a moment to review the below smoke alarm tips:
- Replace the batteries in your smoke alarm once a year, or as soon as the alarm “chirps” warning that the battery is low.
- Clean and vacuum smoke alarms regularly.
- Replace your smoke alarm every ten years.
- Don’t disable smoke alarms, even temporarily.
- The combination of properly working smoke alarms, a planned and practiced family escape plan, and basic home fire safety awareness is the key to being safer.
Additional Safety Note: With the introduction of ten-year lithium batteries available for use in smoke alarms, replacement is not needed on an annual basis. However, monthly cleaning and testing remains an important safety measure.