Chimney Causes West Springfield House Fire

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

News Release 12-11
Date:  February 9, 2012

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a house fire Thursday, February 9, 2012, at approximately 1:25 a.m., in the West Springfield area of Fairfax County. The single-family home is located at 8804 Moverly Court.

Firefighters encountered heavy smoke and fire coming from a collapsing chimney on the left side of the ranch home with basement upon arrival. Additionally, most of the attic and roof was fully involved with fire when firefighters arrived on scene. Firefighters fought the fire from both the interior and exterior. It took firefighters about 40 minutes to knock the fire down, and more than an hour to bring the fire under control. Extensive overhaul and salvage was performed by fire crews, ensuring there were no hidden fire hotspots. Two adults were home when the fire broke out and escaped unharmed; a neighbor knocked on the front door after calling 911. Three occupants have been displaced. Red Cross support was not needed. There were no injuries.

Damage is estimated at more than $100,000.

According to the officer in charge, the fire was accidental. A zero clearance fireplace caused the fire.

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.

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.
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Fairfax, VA 22030

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