The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office (FMO) attributed the cause of Saturday’s garage fire that extended to the house and displaced six residents to an improperly grounded extension cord powering two battery chargers. The cord appeared to be undersized resulting in overheating and failure of the extension cord, which resulted in the fire.
Just after 3:00 p.m., on Saturday, October 30, 2021, the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) began receiving calls reporting a townhouse fire in the 43000 block of Stoke Chapel Terrace. Initial callers indicated that people may be trapped inside the building. Loudoun County Fire and Rescue (LCFR) units from Moorefield, Arcola, Dulles South, Ashburn, Kincora, and numerous command staff were dispatched to the fire. The first arriving units from the Moorefield Station reported fire conditions from the garage with extension to the first floor of an end-of-the-row townhome and immediately requested a Rapid Intervention Task Force, bringing additional units from Kirkpatrick Farms and Fairfax County.
Shortly after arrival the officer in charge was able to confirm no one was inside the structure and the crew began a fire attack. The fire was brought under control in about 20 minutes. Crews performed salvage and overhaul operations to remove and protect the undamaged personal effects within the home and ensure there was no fire remaining. Five adults and one child were displaced by the fire and are utilizing Red Cross assistance.
The FMO investigation into the incident determined the fire was accidental, as the result of an improperly grounded extension cord powering two battery chargers. The cord appeared to be undersized resulting in overheating and subsequent failure of the extension cord and the resulting fire. Damages are estimated at $420,000 with $250,000 for the structure, $150,000 for the contents, $10,000 for two vehicles and $10,000 for damages to a neighboring structure.
LCFR and the FMO reminds the public that roughly 3,300 home fires are caused by extension cords every year according to Electrical Safety Foundation International. You can help keep your family safe by following these extension cord safety tips:
For additional fire prevention and life safety information, please visit Loudoun.gov/fireprevention or call our Public Education Manager Lisa Braun at 571-258-3222.