Herndon Apartment Fire Caused By Unattended Cooking

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On Sunday, September 29, at approximately 12:47 p.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and Loudoun County Fire and Rescue were dispatched for a reported apartment fire in the 900 block of Park Avenue in the Town of Herndon.

Units arrived on the scene of a three-story, garden style apartment to find smoke showing from the attic. Crews were able to work quickly to extinguish the fire and contain it to the apartment where the fire started. There were no firefighter injuries reported. One civilian was transported to an area hospital for a check-up.

Five occupants were home when the fire was discovered. Twenty-six occupants were in the apartment building at the time of the fire. There were no smoke alarms in the apartment. There were working smoke alarms in the adjacent apartments.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the kitchen. The cause of the fire was grease that ignited in a pan on the cook stove after being left unattended.

Ten occupants from two apartments were displaced because of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and accepted. Damages were approximately $93,750.

Cooking related fires are one of the leading cause of fires locally and nationally. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue would like to remind all residents about cooking safely. Please remember to “Watch What You Heat!

Recipe for Safe Cooking

Improperly Discarded Wood Chips From Grill Cause Lake Barcroft House Fire

On Tuesday, May 28, at approximately 1:10 a.m., units were dispatched for a reported house fire in the 6400 block of Queen Anne Terrace in the Lake Barcroft area of Fairfax County.

Units arrived on scene of a one-story, single family home to find a car on fire inside of an attached carport with fire extending to the house and roof. Crews rapidly advanced two fire hose lines and quickly extinguished the fire. There were no civilian or firefighter injuries.

Four occupants were home at the time of the fire. Neighbors were woken up by their dog, looked out the window and noticed an orange glow. Upon further investigation, the neighbors saw the house was on fire, woke up the occupants of the home, and called 9-1-1. Smoke alarms were present but sounded after the fire was discovered.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started on the exterior of the car port. The cause of the fire was improperly discarded wood chips from a grill that were placed in a trash can.

Four occupants were displaced because of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and declined. Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $128,050.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue reminds all residents that after grilling though coals/wood chips may appear to be cool, always soak them with water in a metal container with lid. Coals retain enough heat to reignite for days after the fire.

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Relish This Memorial Day Weekend And Please Grill Safely!

Going to do a little cooking on the grill this Memorial Day Weekend? Fairfax County Fire and Rescue would like to remind all residents about grilling safely. Here are some safety tips for a happy and safe cookout experience:Relish Today, Ketchup Tomorrow! Please Grill Safely!

  • Never leave your grill unattended or place combustibles too close to grill. These are the two leading causes for charcoal grill home fires.
  • Use charcoal lighter fluid only before the fire is lit. If you try to make a fire bigger by adding more fluid, the heat from the coals may ignite the stream of fuel and burn back into the can, causing it to explode in your hands.
  • Never use gasoline to start a fire – it is much too dangerous to use on grills.
  • Try using a U.L. approved electrical starter in place of lighter fluid.
  • Never use a grill on apartment or condominium balconies. This practice is one of the biggest dangers with grills. It is unsafe and against the law.
  • Place grills away from structures so they will not tip over or ignite objects above them.
  • Keep a garden hose or a portable fire extinguisher handy in case the fire gets out of control.
  • Never bring a grill into the home. The carbon monoxide produced by burning charcoal can be dangerous, even deadly, in an enclosed space.
  • Keep children and pets away from fires and grills. Declare a three foot “safe zone” around the grill. It only takes a second for curiosity to cause a serious burn.
  • Though coals may appear to be cool, always soak them with water. Coals retain enough heat to reignite for days after the fire.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
  • If your bag of charcoal gets wet, leave it in a well ventilated area away from the house. During the drying process spontaneous ignition can occur in confined areas.


Firehouse Foods: Big Mac Casserole

On this episode of Firehouse Foods Technician Adrian Cubbage, Station 19, Lorton, B-Shift cooks up his Big Mac Casserole recipe.

Recipe and instructions are below video.


Mac sauce:

1⁄4 cup Miracle Whip
1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons French dressing
1⁄2 tablespoon sweet relish
2 teaspoons dill pickle relish
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon onion, minced
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon ketchup
Salt to taste
Mix vigorously. Do not heat.


64 oz. Straight Cut French Fries
1 lb. of 85/15 Ground Beef per 2 people
1 head of lettuce
24 slices of American cheese (48 if you’re up for it!)
1 white onion
1 Jar Dill Pickle hamburger slices
24 Sesame seed hamburger buns

– Bake French Fries according to package
– Dice full onion (reserve some for cooking with beef, some for topping casserole)
– Chop head of lettuce into shreds
– Cook entirety of ground beef until medium rare (will finish to well done when baking). Drain beef.

– Start your layering process (in order as written):

First layer – Bottom buns; ground beef; cheese (optional); half of shredded lettuce

Second layer – Baked French Fries; rest of ground beef; rest of cheese; rest of lettuce; pickles to preference; onions to preference; entirety of Mac Sauce; Top Buns (buttering by brushing makes top buns crispy and delicious)

-Once layered, bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Firehouse Foods: Eggnog French Toast

By: Kendall Warner, Intern
Office of Public Affairs

On the latest edition of Firehouse Foods, newly promoted Battalion Chief Jenn Svites shows us how to make her Eggnog French Toast.

Battalion Chief Svites has been cooking since she was an eight-year-old. She received her first Betty Crocker Cookbook when she was 11. Since then she has perfected many family recipes, cooked for many shifts at different fire stations, and created her own spin on classic recipes like her Eggnog French Toast.


All ingredients are based on taste preference, Chief Svites does not use exact measurements and encourages you to make the recipe your own!

Bread of your choosing (Chief Svites uses Brioche because it’s dense and absorbs the eggnog wash well)
Eggnog of your choosing (If you are lactose intolerant, try eggnog made with milk alternatives)
Nutmeg to preference
Cinnamon to preference
Eggs (Chief Svites uses 3 large eggs for half a gallon of eggnog)

Drizzle with caramel sauce
Powdered sugar

Try different toppings, sauces, fruits, and anything to make it your own!