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Fire and Rescue

Posted on: December 1, 2023

Closed Door Limits Damage to Sterling Home After Accidental Fire

juniper Garage NF 11-30-23.JPG

Just before 2:00 p.m. Thursday, November 30, 2023, the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) received a 911 call from a resident reporting a fire at their home in the 200 block of East Juniper Avenue in Sterling. Fire and Rescue units from Sterling Park, Cascades, Kincora, and Fairfax County, as well as command officers from both Loudoun and Fairfax were dispatched. 

Firefighters arrived on scene to find a two-story, single-family home with smoke showing from the attached garage. Fire crews confirmed all occupants were safely out of the home and quickly extinguished the fire in the garage. 

While on the initial 911 call, our ECC dispatchers directed the residents to close the interior door to the garage as they evacuated, limiting fire and smoke from spreading to the interior of the home. The simple act of closing the door can reduce fire growth, limit damage to your home, keep temperatures down, and can even save your life if you become trapped and unable to escape the fire.

The Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire was accidental, due to improperly discarded smoking materials in a trashcan inside the garage. The damage is estimated at $70,000 and two adults were displaced. There were no reported injuries to firefighters or civilians. 

Improperly discarded smoking materials cause devastating home fires across the United States. According to the US Fire Administration, home fires started by smoking materials caused 330 deaths, 725 injuries and $368.9 billion in loss in 2020. These fires are preventable by following a few simple tips:

  • If you smoke, do so outside.
  • Put cigarettes out all the way, every time.
  • Ensure smoking materials are discarded in appropriate containers and clean them often. Never use plastic, potted plants or anything that can burn to extinguish smoking materials. 
  • Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Hot ashes can smolder for days.
  • Use a deep, sturdy ashtray and be sure it is placed on a surface where it will not tip over.
  • Place containers away from the house. Never place containers on front porches, decks, or just outside the door.
  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside sleeping areas. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace units as specified by the manufacturer’s instructions. For smoke alarm information, visit www.loudoun.gov/smokealarms or call 703-737-8093.

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