Improperly discarded smoking materials is one of the leading cause of fire in Fairfax County. So far in 2019, there have been seven fires caused by improperly discarded smoking materials! Monetary damages for the seven fires was approximately $231,425!
All seven fires were totally preventable! In two of the fires, the presence of fire sprinklers undoubtedly saved lives and property. Another fire necessitated the rescue of an eleven-year-old child by firefighters which averted tragedy.
If you smoke, please take a moment to learn how to prevent starting a fire. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department urges all residents who smoke to “Sink It or Soak It!” and prevent careless fires!
- 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.
Learn more about some of the recent fires:
Improper Disposal of Smoking Materials Causes Dunn Loring House Fire
Improperly Discarded Smoking Materials Cause Annandale Nursing Home Fire
Improperly Discarded Cigarettes Cause Rose Hill House Fire
Improperly Discarded Smoking Materials Cause Springfield House Fire
On Thursday, November 22, at approximately 3:38 a.m., units responded to a reported house fire in the 600 block of Stuart Court in the Town of Herndon.
Units arrived on scene of a two-story, single-family home with no visible sign of smoke or fire. Crews quickly located a fire in the attic space above the garage. Firefighters worked aggressively to extinguish the fire. No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.
A total of four occupants and two visitors were present at the time of the fire. One of the occupants awoke to flickering lights and an odor of smoke. The occupant alerted the others and called 9-1-1. The six occupants self-evacuated prior to fire department arrival. Working smoke alarms were installed but did not activate due to location of the fire.
Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the attic space over the garage. The cause of the fire was a malfunctioning box fan located in the attic.
Four residents of the home were displaced because of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and accepted. Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $75,000.
Thinking of building a fire in your fire place this weekend? Please make sure you do so safely! Every fall/winter, we experience several home fires that were caused by improperly discarded fire place ashes. A totally preventable and unnecessary fire!
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department would like to remind all residents to be cautious and keep safety in mind when handling fire place 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.
- Teach all family members to be safe with ashes from your fireplace 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.
On Thursday, November 15 at approximately 8:22 p.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the City of Alexandria Fire Department were dispatched for a reported townhouse fire in the 6500 block of Zoysia Court in the Lincolnia area of Fairfax County.
Units arrived on the scene of a two-story, middle unit townhouse with fire showing from the rear of the home. The fire involved all three floors and was extending into the attic area. Crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire. There were no reports of civilian or firefighter injuries.
There were two occupants home at the time of the fire. One of the occupants discovered the fire and called 9-1-1. Smoke alarms activated after the occupant discovered the fire.
Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started within the fireplace chase at the terrace level. The fire was caused when radiant heat from the fire box ignited the structural components within the fireplace chase.
A total of two occupants were displaced because of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and declined. Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $93,750.
On Tuesday, November 6, at approximately 9:32 a.m., units were dispatched for a reported house fire in the 8400 block of Thames Street in the Kings Park area of Fairfax County.
Units arrived on scene of a two-story, single family home with smoke showing. A significant amount of fire could also be seen towards the rear of the home. A second alarm was requested. Crews quickly proceeded to bring the fire under control. There were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries.
There was one occupant home at the time of the fire. The homeowner discovered the fire while investigating the early activation of the dryer’s automatic timer. She was able to evacuate to a neighbor’s home and call 9-1-1. Smoke alarms sounded after the fire was discovered.
Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the hallway laundry area. The cause of the fire is an electrical event within the dryer.
Two people were displaced because of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and accepted. Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $216,250.
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.
On Tuesday, August 7, at approximately 2:38 a.m., units were dispatched for a reported house fire in the 13100 block of Rover Glen Court in the Sully District of Fairfax County.
Units arrived on scene and reported smoke showing from the front door of a two-story, single family home. Crews located a fire on the first floor and quickly brought the fire under control. There were no firefighter or civilian injuries reported.
No occupants were home at the time of the fire. The fire was discovered by a neighbor who called 9-1-1. Smoke alarms were present but it is unknown if they sounded.
Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the first-floor kitchen area. The cause of the fire involved a surge protector supplying power to various personal electronic devices.
One adult was displaced because of the fire. Red Cross services were offered and declined. Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $93,750.