When firefighters arrived, they encountered heavy smoke and fire coming from the rear of the three-story townhouse, according to a recent news release from the fire department.
After conducting an aggressive exterior and interior fire attack, firefighters were able to get the fire under control in approximately 20 minutes. According to the fire department, the fire originated on the ground floor deck and extended up and into the attic area.
When they heard and saw the fire, two adults and two children awoke and escaped unharmed. While the family exited the home, smoke alarms sounded as the fire was burning from the outside to the inside of the house. The family has been displaced and is receiving assistance from Red Cross.
The fire department estimates the damage at about $150,000. Firefighters determined that the accidental fire was started by improperly discarded smoking materials.
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department provides the following safety tips for discarding 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.