Improper Disposal of Fire Place Ashes Causes Hunter Mill House Fire

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On Friday, February 3, at approximately 1:20 a.m., units were dispatched for a report of a house fire in the 12300 block of Myterra Way in the Hunter Mill District of Fairfax County.

Units from Fire Station 31, Fox Mill, arrived on scene to find fire showing from the basement and first floor on the back of a two-level home. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire. There was some minor extension to the second floor.

At the time of the fire, the house was occupied by three adults and one juvenile. The fire was discovered by the occupants of the home before the smoke alarms could activate. All occupants safely evacuated the home prior to fire department arrival. The home had working smoke alarms on each level of the home.

There were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries. Red Cross assistance was offered and declined.

According to Fire Investigators, the fire started under the elevated enclosed deck in the rear of the home. The cause of the fire was accidental in nature and was the result of the ignition of combustible materials due to improper disposal of fireplace ashes in a plastic container. Damages to the home as a result of the fire were estimated at $155,000.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department would like to remind all residents to be cautious and keep safety in mind when handling fire place ashes. Following a few simple safety tips can help keep you and your loved ones safe.

  • Do not discard your ashes into any combustible container such as a paper or plastic bag, a cardboard box, or a plastic trash can.
  • Do not place ash containers on/under decks, porches, or in garages.
  • Put ashes into a non-combustible metal container with a lid and place it away from the house to cool.
  • Pour water into the container to make sure the ashes are cool.
  • Keep your can OUTSIDE and away from the home and away from your fireplace, wood stove and anything combustible.
  • Teach all family members to be safe with ashes from your fireplace or stove.