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Posted on: May 26, 2019

Improperly Discarded Smoking Materials Cause Ashburn Townhouse Fire

5-25-19 Beckett Terr - Improperly discarded smoking materials

On the eleven-year anniversary of the tragic Meadowood fire in Leesburg that was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials, a fire in an Ashburn townhouse demonstrates that this is a still a very real danger and residents must practice safe behaviors when disposing of smoking materials. 

At 11:49 p.m., Saturday, May 25, 2019, the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call reporting fire in a home in the 42000 block of Beckett Terrace in Ashburn. Fire and rescue crews from Brambleton, Moorefield, Dulles South, Ashburn, Lansdowne, and Leesburg responded along with several command officers and the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office.  

Firefighters arrived on scene to find a three story townhome with a significant amount of fire and smoke coming from the third floor and roof. Firefighters confirmed that the residents had safely evacuated the home and immediately attacked the fire from the exterior before entering the home to extinguish the remaining fire. Additional resources from Sterling, Kincora, and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority - Dulles also responded to the scene to assist firefighters. 

Although the townhome incurred significant damage, firefighters kept the fire from extending into the neighboring attached residence. Due to the extent of the damages a family of five and their dog were displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross. 

The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office investigation revealed that the fire was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials on a third floor balcony. The smoldering smoking materials ignited and fire extended up the vinyl siding on the porch into the attic and spread quickly across the roof. The house was equipped with working smoke alarms but because the fire started on the exterior third floor balcony of the home, they did not activate prior to evacuation. Thankfully, the occupants were alerted to the fire by a passerby and were able to safely make their way outside. Damages to the home are estimated at $600,000.

Improperly discarded smoking materials continue to be the cause of many fires across Loudoun County. These fires have not only resulted in millions of dollars in damages, they also needlessly endanger citizens and fire and rescue personnel. These fires are preventable! Follow these simple safety precautions when discarding smoking materials:

  • Dispose of smoking materials ONLY in a metal or ceramic container filled with sand or water. Remember that mulch, potting soil, etc. is combustible and will burn quickly when exposed to heat.
  • Place smoking receptacles away from the home, NOT on the front porch, deck, or outside your door.
  • Remember, “Put it out, all the way, every time!”

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