Bluemont, VA. – The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office determine improperly discarded fireplace ashes caused a house fire that displaced a family and did $25,000 in damages. Fire Department encourages residents to follow safety tips to avoid these dangerous fires.
At approximately 11:20 p.m. Wednesday night, the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call for a house fire in the 33000 block of Austin Grove Road. Fire and Rescue units from Round Hill, Philomont, Middleburg, Purcellville responded to find fire showing from the roof. Additional resources were requested, bringing units from Lovettsville, Clarke County, Mount Weather, and Leesburg. Due to the rural area and limited access, a rural water supply operation was set up using tankers to shuttle water.
Upon entering the residence, firefighters located the fire which had spread to the attic space above a converted garage. Crews quickly extinguished the fire and remained on scene checking for fire extension and removing debris. The residents were alerted to the fire by their smoke alarms and exiting the structure safely. The residents were displaced from the home and made accommodation arrangements without the need for Red Cross assistance.
The Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire was accidental in nature as a result of improperly discarded fireplace ashes. The ashes were placed in trash cans immediately adjacent to the structure, causing a fire that quickly traveled up the outside of the house and into the attic.
One firefighter was transported to a local hospital for checkout of a possible medical emergency. There were no injuries to civilians.
This incident serves as a powerful reminder that residents must use caution when disposing of fireplace ashes or any hot materials in or around your home. Fireplace ashes, cigarette butts, grill or fire pit remnants are among the many items that can cause a fire unless disposed of properly. It is critical to soak these flammable items thoroughly with water and let them cool before disposing into a closed metal container. The metal container should be kept outside, a safe distance away from your home or any other structures. By taking these additional measures, you can help ensure these items are fully extinguished and do not pose a fire hazard to you or your neighbors.
For more information on fire safety and prevention programs, contact the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office at 703-737-8600 or visit www.loudoun.gov/firemarshal.