On Thursday, January 10, at approximately 8:02 a.m., units were dispatched for a reported house fire in the 8100 block of Viola Street in the Springfield area of Fairfax County.
Units arrived on scene to find smoke showing from the rear of a two-story, single family house. Crews located and extinguished a fire in the basement. There were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries.
Two occupants were home at the time of the fire. The fire was discovered when smoke alarms sounded and the occupants observed smoke from the basement stairs. Both evacuated and called 9-1-1.
Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in a wastepaper basket in the basement. The cause of fire was improperly discarded smoking materials.
Two occupants and two service canines were displaced because of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and declined. Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $25,000. This was the second fire this week caused by improperly discarded smoking materials.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department urges all residents who smoke to “Sink It or Soak It!” and prevent careless fires! Please keep in mind the below safety tips as it relates to the proper disposal of smoking materials:
- Never dispose of cigarette butts in potted planting soil. The soil, when it gets too dry, can become highly flammable.
- Never flick cigarettes into mulch or shrubbery. Dispose of them in a suitable ashtray or bucket with sand. Ensure designated outside smoking areas have an appropriate fireproof container, ashtray or bucket.
- 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 home where oxygen is being used.
- If you smoke, choose fire-safe cigarettes. They are less likely to cause fires.
- To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you must be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs.
- Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children’s sight and reach.