Unattended Cooking Causes Herndon Townhouse Fire

newsupdateOn Thursday, April 27, at approximately 1:43 a.m., units were dispatched for a report of a townhouse fire in the 800 block of Sycamore Court in the Town of Herndon.

Units arrived on scene to find smoke showing from the front of a three-story, end unit townhouse. Firefighters entered the home and found a fire in the kitchen on the first floor. The fire was quickly extinguished and contained to the first floor.

The home was occupied by three adults and one child at the time of the fire. One of the occupants discovered the fire after smelling an odor of something burning in the kitchen. All safely evacuated the home prior to fire department arrival.

There were three smoke alarms located in the structure but the fire was discovered 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.

A total of four occupants were displaced due to the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and accepted. There were no reported firefighter injuries. One civilian was transported to an area hospital for evaluation.

Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $25,000.

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.