Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
4100 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Phone: 703-246-3801, TTY: 711 and Fax:703-385-1687
Duty PIO (Weekends/After-hours): 703-280-0694
Media Information Line: 703-324-3000
News Release 09-60
Date: August 6, 2009
Fairfax Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a house fire Thursday, August 6, 2009, at approximately 8:40 a.m., in the Kingstowne area of Fairfax County. The home is located at 5703 Shropshire Court.
Firefighters encountered heavy smoke coming from the second floor of the single-family, two-story home upon arrival. Firefighters quickly deployed several hose lines and quickly extinguished the fire in the upstairs bedroom. During their search of the home, firefighters came upon more than 30 non-poisonous snakes and other reptiles in the home. Several of the snakes perished in the fire. All of the occupants escaped unharmed. The family of five, two adults and three children, has been displaced. Red Cross is assisting the family. There were no other injuries.
Police Department Animal Control officers assisted firefighters and the homeowner with the reptiles.
Damage is estimated at $90,000.
According to investigators, the fire was accidental. An extension cord caused the fire.
Electrical Safety Tips
- Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
- Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
- If your power goes out a lot or the lights in your home flicker, smell bad, or make noise, have an electrician come in to inspect your wiring.
- The electrical outlet in the bathroom should have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). This is a tool that protects you from dangerous shock when water and electricity come together. An electrician can install a GFCI for you.
- All electrical outlets and switches should be covered by “face plates.”
- When possible, avoid the use of “cube taps” and other devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle.
- Inspect electrical cords to make sure they are in good condition.
- Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
- Don’t tie or knot electrical cords.
- Don’t let furniture sit on electrical cords.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instruction for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
For more information, call Daniel L. Schmidt or Captain I Randal Bittinger, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, 703-246-3801 and TTY: 711. Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request.