Fairfax County Fire and Rescue says improperly discarded smoking materials caused a townhouse fire in Herndon last week.
Shortly before midnight on Friday, June 8, firefighters responded to a fire at a townhouse south of Herndon in the 2500 block of Peter Jefferson Lane in the McNair Farms West subdivision.
Fairfax County fire officials report there was heavy smoke and fire coming from the rear of the home and extending up into the eaves and roof. A second alarm was struck by the incident commander, and about 60 firefighters were brought to the scene to conduct an interior and exterior fire attack. The fire was brought under control in about 15 minutes.
Though the fire was knocked out quickly, it had already spread to the roof and attic of the adjacent townhouse, causing major damage to that unit as well. All occupants of the homes escaped before firefighters arrived on scene. Both townhomes are uninhabitable, according to a Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department press release.
Each unit had two adults and two children living there who have been displaced. Red Cross is assisting both of the families. No injuries were reported. Fire officials report the home where the fire started is a total loss, while the adjacent townhome has an estimated $40,000 in damages.
Discarded Smoking Materials Safety Tips from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department:
- Completely douse butts and ashes with water before throwing them away as they can smolder and cause a fire.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Provide large, deep ashtrays with a center support for smokers. Check furniture for any dropped ashes before going to bed. Empty ashes into a fireproof container with water and sand.
- Keep smoking materials away from anything that can burn, such as mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, draperies, etc.
- Never smoke in a home where oxygen is being used.
- If you smoke, choose fire-safe cigarettes. They are less likely to cause fires.
- To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you must be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs.
- Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children's sight and reach.