The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office determined the cause of an early morning fire in South Riding, which did $200,000 in damages and displaced two residents, to be improperly discarded smoking materials.
At 12:02 a.m. on Friday, September 6, 2019, the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call advising fire in the rear of a townhouse in the 42,000 block of Bennet Street. Fire and Rescue units from South Riding, Arcola, Moorefield, Kirkpatrick Farms, Fairfax County, and Dulles Airport responded to find smoke and active fire in the rear of a middle unit townhome.
Firefighters deployed hoselines to extinguish the fire on the exterior as additional crews made entry into the home. Upon further investigation, firefighters located additional fire that had extended up into the attic space. Fire and rescue personnel quickly extinguished the fire and remained on scene checking for hot spots and ensuring the fire had not spread to any adjacent townhomes.
The residents were located safely outside upon the arrival of fire and rescue crews and there were no reported injuries to fire and rescue personnel.
The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office investigation determined that the fire originated on the deck, near the rear wall of the townhouse, and was caused by improperly disposed smoking materials. A resident attempted to put out a cigarette in a planter filled with planting soil. The cigarette was not completely extinguished and fire quickly spread from the planter, upwards into the attic, through the vinyl siding and soffit.
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!”