Improper Disposal Of Fireplace Ashes Cause Of Fairfax Station House Fire


On Sunday, December 31, at approximately 6:06 a.m., units were dispatched for a reported house fire in the 6100 block of Housatonic Court in the Fairfax Station section of Fairfax County.

Units arrived to find a two-story, split-level home and observed fire coming from the first floor and rear deck and extending to the roof. Crews quickly extinguished the bulk of fire from the outside and then entered the home to extinguish the remaining fire.

Several people driving by called 9-1-1. One of the home’s four occupants discovered the fire on the exterior of the home. They all evacuated prior to the smoke alarms sounding and arrival of fire department.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started on the rear deck of the home. The cause of the fire was improperly discarded fireplace ashes.

Two adults and two children were displaced as a result of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and declined. One adult male received a minor injury to his foot while escaping the fire. He declined treatment and transport. There were no other reported injuries to civilians or firefighters.

Damages as a result of the fire are approximately $125,000.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department would like to remind all residents to be cautious and keep safety in mind when handling fireplace 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.

The Play (Training) Is Under Review: Paramedic Students Learn From Real-Life Scenarios And Video

By: Lieutenant Christopher Kroboth
EMS Training Section

Paramedic students closed out the Respiratory section of their Paramedic training with two weeks of real-time, real-life scenarios. One uniqueness to the Fairfax – Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) paramedic program is that the students act as patients while their fellow students “respond” to their emergency. This helps the students appreciate the patient perspective and brings life and new insight into the post-scenario discussion, also known as “the debrief”.

The students who are playing the “patient” have to moulage themselves – figure out how they (as the patient) will present, breathe, act and speak to the “responding” student based on their complaint/problem – as well as know how to respond to the treatment choices and actions of the “responding” crew. The diseases reviewed in the training scenarios ranged from severe asthma and congestive heart failure to pulmonary embolism and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Using live role-players also greatly enhances the student’s learning by allowing students to practice patient assessments and history taking on live “patients.” The student “patients” wear IV pad trainers on their arms so their classmates will have to “start IV’s on them”, draw up and deliver simulated medications, and even hook them up to different airway devices. By requiring the student learners to actually do this in real time, every treatment and action they call for teaches them the power of timely decision-making, crew resource management, and gives them the complete picture of team performance with patient care.

The students who are not directly involved in the training scenario, are tasked with filming it from start to finish so that the “responding” lead student in the scenario can watch their performance later that day and critique themselves.

This is a model our EMS Training Section staff took from the professional sports industry of performance self-reflection. It has really helped the students appreciate how they operate under stress, and allows them to compare what they thought happened to what really did happen.




Fairfax County Fire And Rescue Participating In TOYS FOR TOTS Campaign

Toys For Tots logoThe Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department will be participating in the Annual National Capital Region Fire and EMS Departments’ 2017 TOYS FOR TOTS Campaign. The intent of the campaign is to “bring holiday joy and deliver a message of hope to children.” Stations will accept donations beginning on Monday, November 20.

Please help us to help those less fortunate this holiday season. Last year, thanks to the generosity of those who live and work in Fairfax County, the Fire and Rescue Department collected over 11,000 toys.

Children who are served by this campaign include toddlers and youths through age 17. The campaign will only accept new unwrapped toys and you can drop them off at any of our Fire and Rescue Stations. Toys used as weapons or considered to be weapons (i.e., toy guns or knives of any kind) will not be accepted. Checks or money orders for donations must be made payable to TOYS FOR TOTS.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Stations will accept donations through Monday, December 18. Toys will not be accepted after this date.

Keeping Your Little Ghouls And Goblins Safe

Halloween can be a scary time as it relates to fire safety. Decorations and candles in particular can turn your Halloween into a horrifying experience if care is not taken.

We want to make sure your little ghouls and goblins have a fun time safely. Please take a moment to view the below picto-graph, from our partners in safety at the National Fire Protection Association, for some helpful tips to keep this Halloween a safe one for you and your loved ones.

Halloween fire safety tips

Accessible version here

Halloween by the numbers*

  • 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 840 home structure fires annually that began with decorations.
  • These fires caused an average of 2 civilian deaths, 36 civilian injuries, and $11.4 million in direct property damage per year.
  • Almost half (45%) of these fires were tied to decorations being too close to some type of heat source, such as a candle. A fire can start when candles are too close to decorations or when long, trailing costumes come into contact with candles.

*From the NFPA

Firefighters To Participate In Winter Coat Distribution Friday

On Friday, October 27 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Fire Station 11, Penn Daw, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel will be participating in a free winter coat distribution event for local kids in need. They will be providing winter coats, as a part of Operation Warm, for deserving children. Firefighters will show off their fire trucks, hand out safety information, and provide other fun activities.

In partnership with Operation Warm, and other organizations such as Apple Federal Credit Union and Whole Foods, we will distribute approximately 3,000 coats to over 75 local schools and non-profit groups that will go to deserving kids. The children will also receive a brand new book.

Public safety partners Fairfax County Police Department and Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office will also be participating. In addition, Caring Angels Therapy Dogs will be on hand to lend a helping paw.




Malfunctioning Blender Sparks Newington Townhouse Fire

On Friday, October 20, at approximately 4:50 p.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and Fort Belvoir Fire and Emergency Services were dispatched to a reported townhouse fire in the 7700 block of Lemoyne Lane in the Newington section of Fairfax County. 

Units arrived on scene and reported a fire in the basement of a two-story, end unit townhouse. The fire had begun to spread up the side of the townhouse through a basement window. Crews quickly went to work extinguishing the fire. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the basement and prevented it from spreading to the other floors in the home.  

Four occupants were home at the time of the fire. The fire was discovered by an occupant prior to the activation of the smoke alarms. He alerted the rest of the occupants who were able to safely evacuate prior to the fire department’s arrival.  

Fire Investigators determined that this fire was accidental in nature and started in the basement. The cause of the fire was determined to be a malfunctioning blender. 

A total of six occupants were displaced as a result of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and declined. There were no reports of civilian or firefighter injuries. 

Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $303,562.