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Apartment Fire Caused By Fireplace Ash, According to Investigators

Plus, fireplace safety tips from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

Apartment Fire Caused By Fireplace Ash
Apartment Fire Caused By Fireplace Ash

A fire at a Herndon area apartment was caused by fireplace ash, according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. One person has been displaced, but there were no injuries reported.

Units responded at 1:30 Sunday afternoon to 2557 Farmcrest Drive. Smoke was coming from a second-floor apartment. The fire was put out in less than 10 minutes, according to a release.

No one was at home at the time. A smoke alarm was activated in the apartment above the impacted unit. Damage is estimated at $20,000.

Fire investigators ruled the fire accidental. "Fireplace ashes in a plastic container and too close to combustibles caused the fire," according to the release.

The department also provided fireplace safety tips:

  • Ensure that your chimney is cleaned and inspected by a licensed professional once a year.
  • A spark arrestor across the top of a chimney will prevent sparks from igniting your roof.
  • Use the proper fuel (seasoned hardwood, pellets, and gas/propane) for your type of system. Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Fireplaces should have a sturdy screen across the front to prevent embers from flying or logs from rolling out.
  • When clearing ashes from the fireplace, be sure to put them into a metal container with a lid—never into a cardboard box or paper bag.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully.  Many “non-masonry” fireplace/chimney units have limitations on the amount of heat they can safely withstand.
Donna March 06, 2014 at 07:25 AM
Fireplace ashes in a plastic container? Do we have to start IQ testing people before they can use fireplaces? No rocket scientist here.

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