Unattended Cooking Causes Fairfax House Fire

On Sunday, April 23, at approximately 11:11 a.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the City of Fairfax Fire Department were dispatched for a reported house fire in the 4400 block of San Marcus Drive in the Fairfax section of Fairfax County.

First arriving units found a two-story, single family home with smoke coming from the front door and rear windows. Firefighters discovered a fire in the kitchen area of the home that was rapidly spreading from the stove to the cabinets. The fire was quickly extinguished and damage was contained to the kitchen.

The home was occupied by one adult and four children at the time of the fire. One of the occupants discovered the fire after smelling an odor of something burning in the kitchen. The homeowner called 9-1-1 and all occupants safely evacuated the home prior to fire department arrival.

There were three smoke alarms located in the home. The occupants discovered the fire prior to the smoke alarms sounding.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire started in the kitchen area. The cause of the fire was accidental in nature and was caused by unattended food cooking on the stove.

There were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries. A total of five occupants were displaced due to the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered but declined.

Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $18,000.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue would also like to remind all residents about cooking safely. Please remember to “Watch What You Heat!

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.