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Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

News Release 10-85
Date: September 10, 2010

Smoking Materials Cause Townhouse Fire

According to fire investigators, the Ashnut Lane townhouse fire was accidental. Improper disposal of smoking materials on the rear deck caused the fire.

Two-Alarm Herndon Townhouse Fire

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a townhouse fire Wednesday, September 8, 2010, at approximately 11:50 p.m., in the Herndon area of Fairfax County. The townhouse is located at 13196 Ashnut Lane.

Firefighters encountered fire and heavy smoke coming from two floors in the rear of a three-story middle townhouse unit upon arrival. A second alarm was struck, bringing over 60 firefighters to the incident scene. Firefighters conducted an offensive fire attack that limited damage to the two adjacent townhouse units. Crews also conducted a rapid search of the structure, ensuring the safety of the occupants. Additionally, there was major fire damage to the roof of the townhouse. The fire was brought under control in approximately 20 minutes.  Red Cross support was declined by the family. A total of four adults have been displaced.  There were no injuries.

Damage is estimated at $125,000.

The fire is under investigation.

Discarded Smoking Materials Safety Tips

  • 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 (i.e., 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.

For more information, call Daniel L. Schmidt or Captain I Randal Bittinger,
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, 703-246-3801 and TTY: 711.
Duty PIO (Weekends/After-hours): 703-877-3702
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.
4100 Chain Bridge Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

Last Modified: Monday, August 29, 2011

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