Got To Smoke It? Sink It Or Soak It!

Improperly discarded smoking materials is one of the leading cause of fire in Fairfax County. On May 2nd alone there were three major, multiple alarm fires caused by improperly discarded smoking materials. Monetary damages for those three fires was in excess of $13 Million! 

The three fires were totally preventable! If you smoke, please take a moment to learn how to prevent starting a fire.

 

Candle Causes Merrifield Apartment Fire

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On Monday, December 25 at approximately 8:19 p.m., units were dispatched for a reported garden apartment fire in the 2900 block of Charing Cross Road in the Merrifield section of Fairfax County.

Units arrived on scene to find smoke visible from the front of a three-story, garden apartment. Crews quickly located the fire and initiated an aggressive attack to extinguish it.

There was one occupant home at the time of the fire. The occupant attempted to extinguish the fire prior to evacuating the apartment and then calling 9-1-1.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in one of the rooms. The cause of the fire was when the occupant accidently knocked over a candle which fell on top of a futon.

The occupant was assessed by paramedics and transported to an area hospital for a checkup. There were no other reported injuries to civilians or firefighters. Red Cross assistance was offered and declined. One person was displaced as a result of this fire.

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

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department would like to remind residents that the improper use of candles can result in catastrophe. To avoid the dangers of fire while burning candles, please follow the safety tips listed below:

◾Never leave burning candles unattended

◾Keep all combustible materials away from open flames

◾Do not burn candles near windows or doorways

◾Place candles in glass or ceramic containers

◾Place candles on a flat, sturdy non-combustible surface

◾Never leave candles burning when children or pets are present

Electrical Malfunction Causes Groveton Apartment Fire

On Monday, November 13, at approximately 1:38 p.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the City of Alexandria Fire Department were dispatched for a reported apartment fire in the 6500 block of Tower Drive in the Groveton section of Fairfax County.  

Units arrived on scene and observed smoke coming from the roof of a four-story apartment building. Crews quickly located and extinguished a small kitchen fire in a third floor apartment. 

There were no occupants in the apartment at the time of the fire. The fire was reported by a resident of the apartment building who saw smoke coming from an apartment and called 9-1-1.  

Fire Investigators determined that the fire started in the kitchen area and was accidental in nature. The cause of the fire was an electrical malfunction within a double wall switch that extended into the wall.  

Three adults were displaced as a result of the fire. Red Cross services were offered and declined as the apartment complex is assisting with housing needs. There were no reports of civilian or firefighter injuries.  

Damages as a result of the fire are estimated to be $25,000.

Bailey’s Crossroads Apartment Fire Caused By Unattended Open Flame Device

On Saturday, July 29, at approximately 3:34 p.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, the City of Alexandria Fire Department, and Arlington County Fire Department responded for a report of an apartment fire in the 5800 block of Oakview Gardens Drive in the Bailey’s Crossroads section of Fairfax County.

Units arrived on scene to find smoke showing from the front, terrace level of a three-story garden apartment. Firefighters quickly located and extinguished a small fire in one of the apartments. No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.

The apartment was unoccupied at the time of the fire. Other tenants of the building discovered the fire when they saw smoke coming from the apartment and notified 9-1-1. There were three smoke alarms in the unit. The alarms were not working and did not alert the other occupants of the building.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire started in the closet of a bedroom. The cause was accidental in nature and was caused by combustible materials too close to an unattended open flame device.

Five people were displaced as a result of this fire. Two adults from the apartment where the fire originated and two adults and one child from an adjacent apartment. Red Cross assistance was requested and accepted. Damages as a result of the fire were estimated at approximately $20,000.

 

Unattended Cooking Causes Sully Station Apartment Fire

On Wednesday, June 7, at approximately 7:28 p.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire and Rescue Department (Dulles Airport) were dispatched for a reported garden apartment fire in the 5100 block of Woodmere Drive in the Sully Station area of Fairfax County.Unattended Cooking Causes Sully Station Apartment Fire

Units arrived on scene to find heavy smoke showing from the hallway of a three-story garden apartment building. Firefighters quickly determined the location of the smoke and entered the apartment to find fire in the kitchen area. The fire was quickly contained and then extinguished. There was no fire extension to any other apartment units.

Two occupants reside in the apartment but were not home at the time of the fire. The fire was reported by the adult occupant when she returned home and discovered smoke upon attempting to enter her apartment. There was one smoke alarm in the apartment and unknown if it activated.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire started in the kitchen of the apartment. The fire is accidental in nature and was caused by an unattended pan of oil left on the heating element of the stove-top.

There were no reported civilian or fire fighter injuries. Red Cross assistance was utilized for one adult and one child displaced by the fire. Damages as a result of the fire were estimated to be approximately $93,750.

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.

Improper Disposal Of Smoking Materials Causes Belle View Fire

newsupdateOn Sunday, March 16, at approximately 12:01 p.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the City of Alexandria Fire Department were dispatched for a reported fire in an apartment building in the 6600 block of Wakefield Drive in the Belle View section of Fairfax County.

Units from Fire Station 11, Penn Daw, arrived on scene and reported smoke showing from the roof area of a nine-story apartment building. A second alarm was immediately requested. Firefighters located and extinguished a fire on the building’s roof top wooden deck.

The building was occupied at the time of the fire. A resident discovered the fire on the roof top and alerted all occupants by activating the fire alarm. The occupants were in the process of self-evacuating when fire department units arrived.

No occupants were displaced due to the fire. Red Cross assistance was not needed. There were no civilian injuries. One firefighter was transported to the hospital for medical evaluation.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire started on the exterior roof top on a wooden deck and was accidental in nature. The cause of the fire was due to improper disposal of smoking materials. Damages are approximately $10,000.

This fire was the second fire on Sunday, April 16 that was caused by the improper disposal of smoking materials.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department would like to remind all residents who smoke to keep in mind the below safety tips as it relates to the proper disposal of smoking materials:

  • 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.

Six Residents Rescued At Two Alarm Garden Apartment Fire

At approximately 12:08 a.m. on Saturday, January 21, units from Fairfax County and Alexandria City were dispatched for a report of fire in a garden apartment in the 6700 block of Tower Drive in the Groveton section of Fairfax County.

Units arrived on the scene and reported smoke showing from a third floor apartment. Firefighters also reported multiple people were trapped on their balconies and required rescue. A second alarm was immediately called for to bring additional resources to the scene.

Crews were able to quickly remove five occupants from their balconies via fire department ladders in the rear of the building. One occupant was removed from a balcony in the front of the building. Additional firefighters were also engaged with the search and evacuation of additional occupants inside the building. A family cat was also rescued and reunited with the owner.

Simultaneously, crews advanced fire hoses to the third floor and extinguished the fire in approximately 35 minutes.

The involved garden apartment building has a total of eleven units and was occupied by twenty-one adults and fourteen children at the time of the fire. Occupants of the fire apartment were awakened by the activation of working smoke alarms.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire originated in a bedroom of the apartment. The fire was determined to be accidental in nature, caused by an unattended candle.

A total of 35 residents were displaced as a result of the fire. Red Cross will be working with the property management to assist the displaced residents. One adult occupant was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. There were no other reported injuries to either occupants or firefighters. Damages as a result of the fire are estimated to be approximately $87,500.00.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department would like to remind residents to avoid the dangers of fire while burning candles to please follow the safety tips listed below:

  • Never leave burning candles unattended
  • Keep all combustible materials away from open flames
  • Do not burn candles near windows or doorways
  • Place candles in glass or ceramic containers
  • Place candles on a flat, sturdy non-combustible surface
  • Never leave candles burning when children or pets are present