Improperly Discarded Fire Pit Ashes Cause Annandale House Fire

On Sunday, September 26 at approximately 3:30 p.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and the City of Fairfax Fire Department were dispatched for a reported house fire in the 4000 block of Ossian Hall Lane in the Annandale area of Fairfax County.

Units arrived on the scene of a one-story, single-family home with light smoke evident from the garage. Crews quickly accessed the garage and extinguished a small fire. There were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries.

There were no occupants home at the time of the fire. The fire was discovered by neighbors who observed smoke and flames coming from inside the garage. 9-1-1 was quickly called. Smoke alarms were present but did not sound due to the location of the fire.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the attached garage. The cause of the fire was improperly discarded ashes from a fire pit.

No occupants were displaced because of the fire. Red Cross assistance was not needed. Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $4,000.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department would like to remind all residents to be cautious and keep safety in mind when handling fireplace/wood stove/fire pit 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 decks, porches, or in garages.
    • Put ashes into a non-combustible metal container with a lid.
    • Pour water into the container to make sure the ashes are cool.
    • Keep your can OUTSIDE the home, away from your fireplace or stove and anything combustible.
    • Keep the can a safe distance from the home and ideally on a non-combustible surface.
    • Teach all family members to be safe with ashes from your fireplace, fire pit or wood stove.
    • Ashes can stay hot for several days. Follow the above steps even when you wait several days to remove the ashes from the fireplace.